Offers Common Sense Advice for Diagnosing Car Problems

Helps DIYers overcome challenges, isolate vehicle problems; provides DFMers with clues to explain vehicle issues to repair shop mechanics

Carson, CA – November 10, 2011 – The car repair experts at today revealed common ‘sense’ advice –ways to use the natural senses such as hear, feel, see, and smell – to help car owners describe, locate, and diagnose car problems. says this advice is helpful for:

  • DIYers (Do-It-Yourself) to help diagnose and solve their vehicle problems
  • DFMers (Do-It-For-Me) to help recognize potential problems, and to assist the mechanic in his/her diagnosis

The company says that while the advice of a professional car mechanic is always advisable for a complete diagnosis, these simple tips can provide car owners with early insight into vehicle problems and help them better articulate symptoms at the repair shop, which could help the mechanic diagnose the problem correctly. 

Common "Sense" Car Repair and Diagnostic Tips from

The following are examples of how car owners can use their senses to diagnose vehicle problems. For a full list of potential issues indicated by these symptoms, consult the diagnostic tool. Always reference the vehicle service manual, and consult your local mechanic for a complete diagnosis.

1.       Feel it to fix it

How does your car feel when you drive it?  Does it hesitate, pull to one side or vibrate?  If your car starts and you're able to drive it, pay close attention to how it feels on the road.  Look out for warning signs such as:

  • If your car drifts or gradually moves to one side
  • If there is a lack of response when you step on the gas pedal
  • If there is a vibration when you apply the brakes

Any one of these symptoms could indicate a multitude of vehicle problems.  For example, after selecting brake vibration, the Diagnosis Tool asks: “Where do you feel the vibration?” to isolate front or rear. By selecting the steering wheel, the tool provides two possible solutions to your problem, and then the costs associated with fixing the problem yourself or taking it to the repair shop to have it fixed for you.

2.      Listen closely

How does your car sound when it's idling or while you drive it?  Does it rattle, knock or squeal?  Is there a hissing noise similar to air escaping from a hose?  Be sure to listen closely to any potential audible symptoms your car is exhibiting, including warning signs such as:

  • A continuous high pitched squeal
  • A hiss like the sound of air escaping
  • A heavy repeating knock like knocking on a door

3.      Have a look

Next, pay close attention to anything you see while your engine is idling or while you're driving.  Do you notice oil underneath your car while it's parked?  Is there a warning light illuminated on your dashboard?  Do you see signs of smoke from under the hood?  Potential car problems might be accompanied by:

  • A puddle or fluid leak under the car or in and around the engine
  • Smoke coming out of the engine or exhaust pipe
  • A flat tire (take a quick look at all 4 tires before you get in your vehicle to drive away)

4.      Sniff out the problem

Certain car problems are accompanied by a smell, that's why it's important to let your nose guide you in determining what might be wrong with your vehicle, either from inside or outside your vehicle while the engine is running.  Pay attention to the following smells and their location, including:

  • The smell of gasoline
  • An odor similar to rotten eggs
  • A mildew smell

 “Just as medical symptoms can indicate varied and different diagnoses from person to person, car symptoms can mislead as well – a certain symptom in one vehicle might not always indicate the same problem in another," said Brian Hafer, VP Marketing at “And there are more symptoms than the ones included here that could indicate a car problem.  But the use of a little common ‘sense’ combined with our vehicle diagnostic tool can certainly point car owners in the right direction, whether they plan to fix the car themselves or take it to a repair shop.”

Hafer says car owners can also take advantage of the company's Auto Answers community, online at the website or available via a free downloadable app for your iPhone, where they can post questions about a car problem – along with accompanying photos right from their iPhones – and get feedback from professional mechanics, vehicle enthusiasts and other members of the DIY community.