Tips if Your Car Isn’t Running as Well as It Should

You’re driving on the open road, enjoying a smooth easy ride when all of a sudden you hear a noise and feel a little sputter.  You groan, instantly knowing this can’t be good, and chances are it’s only going to get worse if you don’t do something about it quickly.  That’s how we all feel at the thought of car trouble!  We rely on our cars to take us to and from work, run the kids from one event to the next, to pick up the groceries, or to head on a well planned trip.  The thought of being without our car, if even for a single day, is aggravating.

However small the sputter or the sound, responding to an issue we notice with our cars quickly will save money and time in the long run by preventing any further damage to occur.  When your car starts to act up and isn’t running like it should, there are a few things you can check on your own first:

Check all of the fluid levels.

Brake Fluid
Power Steering Fluid
Transmission Fluid
Check your air filter.
Check the exhaust pipe for any cracks or blockage.
Check your tire balance and pressure.
Replace the spark plugs.

If checking or changing any of these doesn’t help or fix the problem, or if at any time it gets rapidly worse; it’s time to seek the help of a professional mechanic who can perform a car tune up service and diagnose any problems that might be occurring.  Before taking your car to a mechanic take note of a few important questions that will help the mechanic diagnose the problem easier.

Write down the conditions when the problem happens.
Note if happens when you first start the car or once it’s been running for awhile.
Does it seem to happen over and over or just once each time it is running?
Does it make a sound?
Is it a stutter or a hesitation?

Other things the mechanic might also want to know:

When was the last time the oil was changed?
What grade of fuel do you use?
Have you had it in the shop for any other reason recently?

When you get to the mechanic’s shop they will most likely begin by hooking the car up to a diagnostic computer.  Codes that this computer gives the mechanic will help him to diagnose the problem and suggest solutions to you.  From routine maintenance issues to extensive engine damage a qualified mechanic will know what needs to be changed or fixed to get your car back to its best.