Per the Australian government’s Motor Vehicle Census, as of March 2008 there were 15.3 million motor vehicles registered in the country. In just 5 years, between 2003 and 2008, the number increased by 13.9%. Everyone loves their auto, both men and women, and there are plenty of women driving cars who rely on a professional mechanic to keep it running smoothly.
With a car comes responsibility and one of those responsibilities is making sure the auto is taken care of properly. That requires a lot more than just keeping it filled with petrol or having the oil changed periodically. Women should have a basic understanding of auto terminology and recognize signs of trouble developing.
Auto Repairs are No Joke
There are a lot of jokes that have women and cars as the topic. Actually, the jokes are more about the stereotyping of women as having little knowledge about the mechanical aspect of cars. Chances are a lot of men would be very surprised to learn how many women have made sure they are familiar with the basics of auto mechanics so they can recognize a problem before it gets serious. Preventive maintenance and early repair can often save thousands of dollars at the mechanic’s shop.
Actually it is preventive maintenance and preventive driving behaviour that can minimize the chances of your car breaking down. For example, you should try to avoid taking regular auto trips that require less than 10 minutes of driving. It takes more than ten minutes for an engine to eliminate the water vapour created by the engine heating. Water that is not eliminated will collect in the engine and promote rust and even make its way into the oil where it impedes the ability of the oil to lubricate the engine.
That’s why you will hear an auto owner boast that the car has been driven primarily on the highway for longer periods of time!
Speaking of fluids like water, there is a lot more than oil to change in a car. Women need to make sure the transmission fluid is flushed and new fluid added approximately every 60,000 miles at a minimum. The differential fluid should also be changed at the same time. This will keep the drivetrain working properly and prevent transmission premature wear due to dirty fluid.
It’s a pity how many engines have been ruined because the driver didn’t recognize the symptoms of a developing problem. Your car “talks” to you in a language all its own and you just have to listen to what it’s saying to either prevent a problem or to stop a problem from getting worse. So what kind of language does a car speak?
* A lit engine light may suggest engine management problems
* Steam coming from under the hood indicates a possible coolant fluid leak, faulty waterpump or thermostat.
* A lit oil light indicates the oil pressure has dropped
* Brakes that go “squish” as the pedal goes too far to the floor (hopefully not all the way!) probably means the brake fluid is low
* The tapping and knocking clicking sound from the engine might indicate valves clearance or engine problems or
In other words, the noises you hear and the lights that suddenly are lit are telling you there is a problem that needs immediate attention.
Wow! What Does That Mean?
An overheated engine is a very serious problem that should be checked by a mobile mechanic right away. In fact, if your engine light comes on or there are signs of steam coming from the engine, the best thing to do is pull over and call for help. If you don’t turn the engine off right away and keep driving instead there is a good chance you will destroy the engine. When the engine gets too hot, the cylinder head gasket can fail and in extreme circumstances the block can crack among other things and you may have to replace the engine if that happens.
People with a basic knowledge of engines can often manage to get the car to the nearest repair shop by adding water to a radiator if the overheating is caused by a leaking radiator or hose. But the engine can overheat for a number of other reasons and if you don’t know what you are doing then it’s better to just stop driving and get assistance.
* Faulty electronic signals
* Clogged or leaking radiator
* Low coolant
* Broken, stuck or leaking thermostat
* Cylinder Head problems
Obviously some problems are much easier to fix than others. But the important thing to understand is that when the engine light comes on there is a problem that must be corrected or the engine can be ruined.
Sometimes you get early warning the engine is going to overheat before the dash light comes on. For example, you notice a puddle of fluid under the engine on the garage floor. You should never ignore this kind of sign until you determine exactly what it is and where it is coming from.
Not all puddles indicate a problem. For example, if you just drove the car and had the air conditioner on then a puddle might form under the car from the expulsion of condensation and water. But the puddle will be small and will appear under the air conditioner. If you walk up to your car and say, “Wow! Where is all that water coming from?” then there is a good chance your radiator is leaking.
Women should also understand the importance of regular maintenance on a vehicle. Not only will it help extend the life of your car, the knowledge will improve communication with a mechanic. For example, if you get your oil changed regularly and know it has not been using oil, then a dishonest mechanic will not be able to convince you to spend money on correcting a non-existent oil problem.
Women also need to learn the basic language of the mechanic. When he walks up to you and says, “Your ABS needs repair”, it’s good to know what he is talking about. There are a lot of acronyms used in the auto repair business and they will show up on your invoices. The terms are used like a second language by mechanics. Here is just a sample.
* ABS – antilock braking system
* ATF – automatic transmission fluid
* ECM – engine control module
* EGR – exhaust gas recirculation
* BCM – body control module
* SRS – safety restraint system
* PCM – Powertrain control module
There are hundreds of acronyms like these in the auto repair business.
It is highly recommended that everyone have a regular mechanic they can trust to speak honestly and intelligently about auto problems. A reliable car repair service can save a car owner literally thousands of dollars. It is the reason why so many busy people are using mobile mechanics who make it convenient to access reliable and ongoing auto repair and maintenance service.
In knowledge is power! Women who understand how a car’s inner workings operate, and the language of the car, have the power to talk to a mechanic in a two-way conversation. When the mechanic says the ABS or the EGR or the PCM needs work, you will be able to say…let’s talk about it.
Mobile Car Care is a fully trained Mobile Mechanics and Auto Electricians servicing company. Our Mobile Mechanic Service Units are fully equipped to perform all car repairs, auto electrical repairs, and car, commercial and 4WD service. For more information, visit Mobile Mechanics.