Car Maintenance 101: Troubleshooting Your Engine for Problems (Part 6)

*** Shown in the picture is a Toyota Alternator.

Note to Reader 7: I’m happy to say that we’re nearing the end of this particular topic. Feel free to ask me questions that you’d like to have addressed or posts that you want to see written.

And now, on with the rest of the show. Here are more tips on how to troubleshoot your engine properly.

If your engine has a tendency to idle almost-immediately after running This situation shows a scenario wherein you have an engine that’s already “warm enough” but still has idle speeds that refuses to return to “normal”. In this situation, you really have to stomp on your brakes hard to prevent your car from surging or lurching forward. If this is a common scenario for you, then you might have:

Possible Cause: An overheating engine.

Possible Solution: Check your engine’s operating temperature, is it way above normal? Noticing light smoke coming from under your hood? Pull over immediately and let your engine cool a bit before popping your hood open. After another quarter of an hour or so, have a look at your engine cooling system. If you can make it home, do so. Otherwise wait until your engine cools or call a tow truck. You’re going to have to inspect your engine cooling system for signs of damage. Inspect your radiator, radiator hoses, thermostat, and fan belt. Repair or replace damaged component/s if there are any.

Possible Cause: Worn carburetor or dying power circuit or accelerator pump.

Possible Solution: Inspect your carburetor and its nearby components for signs of damage. Make the necessary reparations and replacements if needed. You may have to replace your actual carburetor or its accelerator pump.

Possible Cause: Low pressure coming from your fuel pressure regulator.

Possible Solution: While replacing a fuel pressure regulator should be generally left to professional mechanics, what you can do is inspect your regulator for signs of damage. You can do this by checking your fuel pressure using a great fuel pressure gauge.

Possible Cause: Malfunctioning alternator. The alternator is the part of your vehicle that keeps your car’s battery in tiptop shape. Aside from keeping your battery charged, this auto unit also provides power to your vehicle’s numerous electrical units and accessories.

Possible Solution: Replace your alternator if needed.

Possible Cause: Wrong idle speed.

Possible Solution: Make the necessary adjustments or replace your idle speed control unit if it is already damaged.

Possible Cause: Ignition timing failure.

Possible Solution: Correct your ignition timing for better ignition system performance.

Possible Cause: Your vehicle is in dire need of an ignition tune-up.

Possible Solution: Avail of a tune-up kit and replace your distributor rotor, cap , spark plugs and ignition wires.

Possible Cause: Vacuum leak.

Possible Solution: Locate the area where the leak is coming from and replace your ride’s vacuum lines.

Possible Cause: Problems with your vehicle’s computerized engine control system.

Possible Solution: Find a scan tool or DTC reader and determine where the problem part is located. Don’t forget to test your circuits as well. Repair or replace engine computer parts if needed. Remember, this job is not your typical DIY job, so you may want to take your car to the local garage to have part replacements done.

Note to Reader 8: While I encourage you guys to conduct auto repair, replacements and regular maintenance on your rides, if you think you’re in over your head over a particular project, then I highly suggest asking for a mechanic’s help in conducting repairs and part replacements. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, then it’s best to ask for a little help from someone who repairs cars for a living. Consider it a mini-apprenticeship where you learn new things about replacing particular components. If you’re a good student, I’m pretty sure that in a year or two, you can accomplish all DIY repairs and installation processes yourself.


One Response to Car Maintenance 101: Troubleshooting Your Engine for Problems (Part 6)

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