Automotive troubleshooting can be very frustrating. Without the right knowhow and resources, It’s like trying to find an address without a map. Let me give you the map to diagnose your vehicle problem quickly and easily.
Many vehicle problems can be solved with a basic understanding of auto maintenance and repair. It’s worth trying to figure out what’s wrong with your car or truck before hauling it down to a repair shop.
If you’re able to pinpoint the problem, then you can decide whether to repair it yourself or leave it to a professional – Click here to find out which repairs are best suited for DIY repairs.
No matter what kind of vehicle problem you are struggling with, my step by step troubleshooting guide should help you diagnose it:
1. Have a Good Auto Repair Manual on Hand
A good auto repair manual is the single most important thing for troubleshooting. Having access to best online automotive troubleshooting manuals as a professional auto technician, I can say with conviction that they have really helped me cut down on the time, money and frustration for diagnostic jobs.
To troubleshoot, repair and maintain your vehicle, you’ll need diagnostic and repair information that is specific to your car or truck. For this I personally use and recommend ALLDATAdiy. With full manuals for over 30,000 vehicles online, you will find an exact match for your vehicle’s year, make and model.
Besides being cheaper than a factory manual, they also offer step by step repair instructions and detailed diagrams beyond what is found in most printed manuals. Click here for a sample of their diagnostic and repair information.
2. Gather All Details of Your Vehicle Problem
Important questions to ask yourself when troubleshooting and diagnosing vehicle problems:
- When did it the problem happen?
- Is the problem persistent or intermittent (happens from time to time only)
- Was I doing anything with the vehicle when the problem emerged?
- Is my vehicle running too hot?
- Does the problem only happen when I’m going around a corner?
- Is my check engine light on? If yes, what is the trouble code?
- Have I maintiained or repaired my vehicle recently?
- Has a similar problem happened before?
Test drive your car and listen carefully for any problems,especially during starting and stopping. If your car won’t start, then you need to ask yourself:
- Did anything happen right before the car stalled?
- Has the car been taking longer than normal to start?
- Does the car seem to “turn over” normally?
Write down every detail that comes up during troubleshooting. Look for similar symptoms listed in your repair manual and online auto forums.
Even if you can’t figure out the problem, the details will help your mechanic when you take it down for repairs.
3. Seek Automotive Troubleshooting Advice Online
If you’re unable to pinpoint the problem, then you should consider asking a qualified mechanic online. Make sure that the site you choose has qualified auto mechanics and not just general technicians.
From my experience, JustAnswer Car is the best website for online automotive troubleshooting. All of their experts are verified automotive mechanics. Besides having real experience working in repair shops, they also have access to professional grade information on your vehicle.
Asking your vehicle questions online is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get an accurate answer. The small fee they charge is virtually nothing compared to taking your vehicle down to an auto repair shop (which will cost you as much as $120 per hour).
4. Take Your Vehicle Down to a Repair Shop
Yes, taking your car to a mechanic will cost more, but at this point you would have probably spent a lot of time and some money… and you still don’t have a working car.
The key is finding a good auto repair shop that won’t rip you off. It is a good idea to build a working relationship with a repair shop that you trust so that when your vehicle breaks down, you will have someone dependable to turn to. When it comes to automotive troubleshooting, having someone you trust to work on your vehicle is essential to avoid being scammed.