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August 17, 2021

You Don’t Need a Mechanic to Do These Things

You can always rely on your mechanic to identify an engine problem and fix it in no time. However, it would be much better if you know how to identify some of the most common signs of car problems and, more importantly, how you can solve them. Just because you’re not mechanically skilled doesn’t mean that you can’t work out those issues yourself.

Below is a list of 6 top car problems you can diagnose and fix without needing the assistance of a professional:

  1. Squealing belt

Most drivers would agree that a squealing belt is the most annoying problem they’ve encountered. This normally happens when the belt wears out, gets contaminated with coolant or oil, or when it becomes loose. You can easily diagnose such problems by inspecting the belt visually, by using a belt wear gauge, or with a spray water bottle.


The first thing you should do is to check the belt with a belt wear gauge. Be sure to buy a new belt if the one you have is already damaged. Then, try to recreate the conditions in which the belt would squeal (for example, when the engine is still cold). Spray a stream of water on the ribbed side of the belt as you start the engine.

If the noise becomes louder after spraying, it means that there’s very little tension in your belt. Replace the tensioner if your car comes with an automatic belt tension adjuster. If it’s manual, you may slightly tighten the belt before re-testing it.

On the other hand, a noise that disappears but comes back a few moments later suggests that the belt or its components are misaligned. If this is the case, you’ll need to take your car to an auto shop.

  1. Dim headlight

A common assumption is that a poor connection on the circuit’s power side is the reason behind a dim headlight. Although this is possible, most cases of faint headlights are caused by corrosion on the ground connection.


Separate the electrical connector from the headlight and look for signs of corrosion or melted plastic. If you do find corrosion, clean it with an electrical contact cleaner and a small wire brush. If you’re dealing with a melted connector, buy a new pigtail headlight connector and splice it into the wiring harness.

The next step involves cleaning your headlight ground connection. Once you locate the connection, you remove the bolt or screw, get rid of rust, apply a dab of dielectric grease, reconnect, and finally, turn the headlights on.

  1. Oil warning light

An oil warning light is a major car problem that needs fixing as soon as possible. A low-pressure warning light can mean a couple of things: a worn engine, poor oil pressure sensor, or faulty oil pump. It can also indicate that you’ve run out of oil, which is why it’s a good idea to check your oil level first before diagnosing the problem.


First things first — open the hood, remove the dipstick, and wipe it using a clean rag. Put the dipstick back into its tube and see to it that it goes all the way in. Pull it out again a few minutes later to read the oil level.

If the oil is below the “add” mark, then you’ll need to refill it with at least four quarts of the recommended oil. Pour enough oil until it reaches the “full” mark on the dipstick. Afterward, take your car to a nearby shop to get it examined for leaks or other oil-related issues.

  1. Poor acceleration

As with any car’s computer, yours is equipped with the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF). This is a system that detects the mass, volume, and temperature of the air going in your engine, calculating the amount of fuel that should be added. Once the sensing elements get dirty, your computer will produce skewed results, leading to performance problems.


You can fix this issue easily by cleaning your MAF sensor using a can of MAF Sensor Cleaner. Loosen the worm drive clamps with a screwdriver so you can remove the sensor from the air duct.

Aim the spray toward the sensing elements. Make sure not to touch them. Wait for the solvent to dry before you reinstall the MAF sensor. If thorough cleaning didn’t solve your acceleration problem, call your mechanic for further diagnosis.

  1. Sticking car door

When the weather is hot, you might notice the sponge rubber weather stripping on your car door sticking to the door frame. This explains why there would be times when you would have trouble opening your car.


Use a household spray cleaner to wipe any weatherstrip residue off the door frame. Next, coat the weatherstrip either with dry Teflon lubricant or silicone. Soak the whole surface and then allow it to dry completely.

  1. Blinking turn signal

You can tell that a bulb is burned out if it blinks faster than the other. You can say the same thing if both the front and rear bulbs on that side are flashing quickly.


This is perhaps the car issue that’s the easiest to fix. All you got to do is replace the dual filament bulb with a brand-new one. Always replace first the bulb before assuming that it’s the turn signal switch or flasher that’s defective.   


Wondering What to Do with Your Jalopy?

Unfortunately, all cars eventually reach the point when they start malfunctioning and lose their appeal. If you happen to have an old clunker that no longer works for you, you might want to consider turning it over to Veteran Car Donations instead of leaving it to rust in your garage. You’ll get rid of it easily while supporting the struggling disadvantaged vets in your area at the same time.

Once we get hold of your automobile, we’ll have it auctioned off. We will then transfer the generated funds to our veteran-focused charity partners, enabling them to render services to more needy veterans in your local area. These are our former troops who are living miserable lives due to homelessness resulting from extreme poverty, chronic unemployment, service-connected disabilities, and illnesses, including mental health disorders.

Your donated vehicle will help our charity partners in providing them with quality health care, financial aid, housing assistance, employment opportunities, family support, educational scholarships, psychotherapy services, and many other benefits.

As our token of gratitude, we’ll be sending you by mail the 100% tax-deductible receipt of your vehicle a few days after it gets sold. This receipt will entitle you to claim the maximum tax deduction in the next tax season.

You will also benefit from the free professional pickup and towing services that we will provide you at your convenience.

More valuable than these material rewards, you’ll get to experience the priceless joy and satisfaction of giving away something that will be used to help improve the lives of our nation’s heroes.

You can donate almost any type of vehicle whether in good condition or not. You can make such a donation anywhere in the country since we have vehicle donation programs in all 50 states.

For more information about our program, you may browse through our FAQs page. Send us a message here if you have any concerns or inquiries, or give us a call at 877-594-5822. 


Let Our Hurting Heroes Know You Care

While you might see your old car as worthless, the needy veterans in your community see it as their saving grace. Donate it to Veteran Car Donations by calling 877-594-5822 or filling out our online donation form now!

Veteran Car Donations operates in all 50 states.

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Or call (877) 594-5822!