Mechanic Checklist

5 Things to Check Before Looking for an Auto Mechanic

An automobile is an incredibly complicated piece of machinery, and with the thousands of models out there, and with each one of those models requiring different parts and service, you can oftentimes find yourself stuck if you ever have a car problem. However, before you seek out an auto mechanic, you may want to look into these common auto problems that may require nothing more than minor maintenance.

Your Alternator

The alternator is what powers your vehicle’s engine. Thus, if the alternator stops working, so does your car. But you should be able to determine when your alternator is going ‘bad’. Look for an alternator bulb that comes on when the engine starts. If that light doesn’t come on, you may need to replace the alternator altogether. Of course, check to make sure the light is working also.

Worn Belts

It may not be your alternator that’s the problem. It may be that the alternator belt has cracks or glazing from repeatedly being heated and cooled. This can cause looseness in the belt, which causes low output on the part of the alternator and that prevents the battery from fully charging.

Battery Connections

Inspect your battery’s voltage and terminal connections with the engine on. Use a voltmeter to determine if the battery is producing a charge. You should get a reading of anywhere between 13.8 and 15 volts. If the reading comes in below that range, you may need a new battery.

The Rotor Within the Alternator

If you hear a loud, grinding noise, you may be hearing the rotor failing within the alternator itself. To test whether or not this is the problem, take one end of the heater hose or tubing and put it next to your ear while moving the other end close to the alternator. If the volume increases, you need a new alternator.

Your Starter

Check the wires or cables that connect to your vehicle’s starter. If they’re in good working condition, then you can rule out an electrical problem. But if the wires are worn, rusted or if they’re damaged in any way, you may need a new starter.

You should never diagnose a serious car problem by yourself. You should only trust a trained and certified auto mechanic.