Diagnosing Car Engine Errors

Diagnosing Car Engine Errors: A Guide for New Drivers

It is expensive to be a new driver. You might think you had to pay out a lot of money for lessons but once you have passed there are many other expenses to consider. Insurance can be astronomical for new drivers and the chances of being able to buy a brand-new car are remote. You may have found yourself a great bargain in the second-hand market, but older cars can be costly too as they will need more maintenance. Many people take their cars to the mechanic once they think there might be a problem, but this can cost a fortune. It would be far easier and cheaper if you could diagnose car engine errors yourself, wouldn’t it? Read this guide to learn how to diagnose car engine errors yourself.


A good starting point is what you can hear. If your car doesn’t sound good, then it is quite likely to have a problem. Common issues include a heavy knocking sound coming from the engine. This happens because your engine bearings are worn, and they need to be replaced. A hissing noise coming from the engine signifies a leak. If your engine vibrates violently, you may need a new ignition coil.


If you think there may be a problem with your car, then check around it when it has been stationary for a while. If you can see water or oil on the floor, then the chances are you have a leak and you need to get this repaired. If you can see a white powder around your car battery, then this could be a problem with the alternator. This is a dangerous issue if you don’t get it checked so take it to a mechanic immediately.

Warning Lights

Modern cars are more likely to fail because of technology or sensory issues rather than because of a mechanical failure. When this happens, an amber light will usually appear on your dashboard and give you an indication of what is wrong with the car.

Diagnostic Tools

Once you see an orange light, you could take your car to a mechanic. They will be able to diagnose the problem quickly, but they will charge you for doing this and then charge you for the repairs, so doing it this way could get costly.

Modern cars use tools that support OBD-11 (On-Board Diagnostics) These check the DTC memory inside the car and see where the error is. There are many different diagnostic tools but many of them will be cheaper to buy than a mechanic will charge you to diagnose the problem. Once you have one, you can use it whenever you need to whereas a mechanic will charge you on each occasion.

Carly offer a car diagnostic scanner which is considered among the best scanner for cars on the market. This is easy to use, and the scanner will show you an error code that it has picked up from the DTC memory. You can then go online and use a search engine to diagnose the issue. You can often find advice on how to fix the problem by looking online, and if it is a simple issue, you may not need to take your car to a mechanic at all. As long as your car was built after 1996 you can use the same diagnostic tool for any car. However, if your car was built before this time then you will need to find a tool that works for your car make, model, and year of production because tools used to be built for individual rather than universal car use.

How to Use a Diagnostic Tool

To use your tool, you need to make sure that the engine has been turned off as they don’t work if the engine is running. The OBD-11 plug for your vehicle should be located on the lower side of the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. However, in some cars, they are on the center console. If you have trouble locating the plug, you can look up the location for your make and model on the internet. Put the connector into the plug and enter the make, model, and year of production of your car. The scanner will then connect to your vehicle’s DTC memory and give you a code that you will need to write down and research to diagnose the problem.

Once you know how to diagnose your car and fix some of the more basic issues yourself you can save a fortune on car mechanics and diagnostic testing costs. You may still need a mechanic to fix some of the more complex problems and it is best to take your car to them if you are unsure in theses situations.

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