Auto repairs are a requirement of every car or truck.  Almost everybody faces unexpected breakdowns at some point.  While the reasons may be endless, here are some of the more common auto problems you may encounter.  Check back often as we add new articles to the Columbia SC Auto Pro Blog series – Basic Auto Problems Guide.

Engine Hesitation or Engine Surge

There are a variety of issues that may lead to experiencing engine hesitation or surges.  Some of the culprits may be a dirty air filter, or even hot, humid weather.  During especially hot days, particularly in humid conditions, some automobiles’ engines will struggle to work properly.  Your car or truck needs to re-circulate the exhaust gas that comes back through the engine in order to reduce environmentally-unfriendly exhaust emissions. Hotter, more humid weather conditions can cause this exhaust flow to build up within the intake manifold.  If this happens, it will affect the auto’s drivability and can cause blockages, which will lead to bigger problems and more significant auto repairs in the future.

Distributor Cap Failure

Even the smallest crack in your distributor cap’s insulation can lead to problems.  Distributor Cap leaks can become an even bigger problem during damp or wet weather conditions.  It should be part of your regular maintenance schedule to inspect the condition of your distributor cap.  Always do a visual inspection before heading out on a long road trip.  A bad distributor cap, or one you suspect may be bad, can simply be replaced, ensuring that this is not where your trouble lies.

Alternator Failure

Your alternator is an integral part of your automobile.  Alternator failure can leave you sitting on the side of the road at a most inopportune time.  If you feel you are having alternator problems, have it checked and tested right away.  Signs that you may have an alternator problem may include a struggling or sluggish battery.  If your headlights or dashboard lights dim while the car is idling, it is definitely indicative of alternator troubles. These are warning signs not to be ignored and you should get to a mechanic or auto repair shop as quickly as possible to avoid further complications, or worse yet, a complete breakdown on the side of the highway.

Evaporation Engine Leaks

Your engine can leak from so many places that it is often hard to pinpoint the source at first look.  Even more hard to locate are evaporation leaks, or leaks where the substance coming out actually evaporates, leaving little to no trace that it is escaping the system.  When the Check Engine light comes on, you should never ignore it.  Rather than assuming it is a faulty alert or a short in the system, you really should take your vehicle to a professional to have the issue diagnosed.  The Check Engine light is often a first alert to an evaporation emissions leak.  Auto trouble of this nature can rapidly become a much bigger problem to resolve, so heeding early warning signs can ultimately save you from down-time with your car or truck as well as costly auto repairs that may have been prevented.