kaminskimik.com - faq - problems with cars


When I turn on the A/C Why do I hear a roaring noise?
A roaring noise that can be heard when turning on the A/C can generally be attributed to a faulty A/C Compressor but can also come from a faulty A/C idler pulley. Compressor failure should be done by a professional technician only. Idler pulley failures can be identified by removing the belt and turning the idler by hand to see if the bearing has failed!

When Turning left or right I notice a pop, pop noise, Why?
Generally, A CONSISTENT popping noise that can be heard when turning hard left or hard  right can be identified as an outer Constant Velocity Joint failure. Be sure that when trying to diagnose this that the noise is consistent or a continuous pop! This means that the shell or housing that supports the Balls in the CV joint has broken or has excessive wear! 

Why do I feel a vibration in the front end on hard acceleration?
Vibration on hard acceleration can often be attributed on excessive wear to the inner CV or driver in front wheel drive vehicles. On rear wheel drive cars the problem the occurs most often is an out of balance drive shaft.
Front end vibrations may also be attributed to lack of tire rotation as well. One can identify cupped or poorly rotated tires by rubbing your hand down the outside edge of the tire and noting whether or not the outer edge of the tire is smooth!

Why do I Hear a scrubbing noise from the front when I apply my brakes?
One of two reasons. Reason 1 - The pads that were used are an inferior grade pad. Usually, an inferior grade pad will make its presence known by noting a very high pitch squeal when applying the brakes. Reason 2 - The brake pads that were used are hard use pads which contain a type of material which will cause this noise to occur. It does not mean that there is a serious problem. It simply means that it is the type of materials contained within the brake pad. Only cure - replace the pads! Hard use pads will generally not cause damage to the rotors but the noise can be somewhat consistent!

Why do I hear a roaring noise during the engine belt rotation?
Generally, A roaring noise during belt rotation (without the A/C on) will often be caused by an idler pulley bearing going bad. There are occasions where Alternator bearings will also create a roaring noise during belt rotation. In-order to diagnose either of  these problems simply remove the belt and rotate each of the pulleys by hand. The pulley failure will make itself apparent by noting that the noise begins when rotating the faulty pulley.

When I turn the Cabin fan on I smell a funny odour?
When you turn the Cabin fan on and you smell a funny odour, the most likely cause of this odour is a leaking heater core. Heater core failures are quite common failures. When the heater core fails you will often smell a sweet scent especially when the interior fan is turned on. It is most noticeable then due to the fact that the air is being blown over the leaking area of the heater core.  Another very common interior odour is mildew. This smell is generally caused by the AC evaporator and heater cores being located too close together causing condensation leading to leakage under the carpet.  Newer model cars often have this problem occur.

Why do I hear a loud clanking noise during belt rotation?
A loud clanking noise from the engine belt area can often be attributed to a faulty crank shaft pulley (harmonic Balancer). Crankshaft pulley's are often  designed in 2 parts & pressed together from the factory. The problems often come from the material that holds the two part pulley together. These materials will deteriorate over time causing the pulley to separate leading to one of the following symptoms: A loud clanking noise as previously described or a loud squeak upon initial start up. You can also identify this problem when you find that your engine continually throws the drive belts off the pulley for no apparent reason. 

Why does my car seem to run hotter than it did when it was new?
If you have noticed that your car seems to run hotter, there are several things that could be happening. One of the most common problems is with age the thermostat begins to weaken making  it open slower or actually sticking closed causing overheating. Thermostat Replacement is the repair. Another problem is with the temperature switch that turns on the radiator fan can build resistance causing overheating (unless your car has a belt driven fan). When cars are equipped with electric cooling fans they generally use temperature switches in the radiator to determine when to turn on the fan. With age, these switches begin to build excessive resistance causing the cooling fan to come on later. Replacing both the thermostat and fan switch (where applicable) is recommended. Their cost is rather small compared to major overheating damage that can result.

Another cause can be an air bubble that is trapped in the cooling system that keeps the water from circulating properly.This can happen if you drain and refill the system or if your fluid level is very low when you add more fluid to the system. Many cars have an air bleeder valve usually located on the thermostat housing and some have a 2nd valve located on the throttle body. To correct this problem, warm up the car to operating temperature and then carefully open the bleeder valve(s) until there is a steady stream of fluid.

Why does my car have a rotten egg smell coming from the exhaust?
A harsh smell coming from the exhaust can usually be attributed to the use of fuel that contains methanol (Although in most places it is not supposed to be sold). When using this fuel, a sulphur smell can be emitted from the exhaust which can range from a mild odour to a rotten egg smell. To avoid this smell try changing the place where you purchase fuel! Catalytic Converter failures can also cause this same smell!

Why does my car start intermittently when the engine is hot?
Intermittent no starts can often be attributed to ignition switch  failures (the electrical portion). More often than not, mechanics change the starter because the symptoms lead them to the starter as being the source of the problem. In reality what generally occurs is that the voltage going to the starter is less than adequate to COMPLETELY turn over the engine. This is not to say that Starter assemblies do not fail because they do, but an occasional ignition switch problem can be a difficult problem to diagnose. In most cases when the starter fails it will be the starter solenoid failing noted by a click, click when attempting to start. Make sure that you check to see if you have 12 volts at the solenoid prior to replacing the starter. If you do not have 12 volts at the solenoid then look to the ignition switch as the problem area!

Why does my car seem to Wander in the steering?
A Wandering feeling in the steering can often be attributed to faulty tie rod ends.  Tie rod ends are the components that Tie the wheels to the steering racks. When they have excessive wear they tend to cause the tight steering feel to disappear.  When replacing Tie rod ends be careful to count the amount of turns that it takes to remove the ends and place the new ones on using the same amount of turns. This will insure that the tow-in remains the same.

Why does my car have a loose feeling or rattle when going over bumps?
A loose feeling or rattle when going over bumps can often be attributed to faulty lower ball joints! In-order to test the ball joints you must UNLOAD the wheel by jacking up the car. Then place a large pry bar or screwdriver between the steering knuckle and the ball joint and pry up and release. There should be no movement in the joint itself!  By doing this you take the pressure off of the ball joints which will allow you to test them for excessive play or movement!

Why do I see pink or green fluid on the ground ?
Seeing Pink or Green fluid on the ground area is a generally an indication of a faulty water pump. In most cases, the water pumps are designed with a weep hole in the castings of the pumps themselves. Seepage is quite common on most cases but noting that antifreeze is leaking on the ground would not be classified as seepage. Fluid on the ground means that the pump has failed and is in need of replacement!

Why do I see or smell oil from the engine compartment above the exhaust?
Oil leakage from the Valve Cover Gasket is a common problem on most cars. What generally happens is that the gasket heats up and cools down so many times that the gasket eventually hardens up to a point where it no longer seals. Replacement of the valve cover gasket(s) is the only repair.

Why do I hear a whining noise on acceleration and deceleration?
A whining noise from the transmission during acceleration and deceleration can often be attributed to faulty pinion bearings in the transmission. Generally, what happens is that the bearings begin to get pits in them due to excessive wear or dirty transmission oil. Catching the pinion bearings prior to complete failure will result in less cost during a transmission repair!

Why does my Clutch pedal seem to engage the clutch close to the floor?
Cars that are equipped with a hydraulic clutch system generally see problems with worn out seals in the Clutch Master cylinder. Clutch Masters can be rebuilt or replaced.  The easiest way to bleed the clutch system is to force air into the reservoir with the bleeder open closing the bleeder as a steady stream of fluid begins to flow.

Why does my Turbocharger whistle during acceleration?
 Turbocharger whine is often caused by excessive bearing wear. What generally happens is that the bearings wear allowing the impellers to rub against the compressor housing of the Turbocharger. This causes the whistling during acceleration. This is not to say that all Turbochargers that whistle need to be replaced. Some Turbochargers whistle for years without failure. Frequent oil changes will help prevent Turbocharger failure!

How Do I Diagnose a NO START Condition?

IGNITION DIAGNOSIS - There are several basic things that should be done in-order to diagnose a no-start condition. First, check to see if you have spark at the centre terminal of the distributor cap by removing the coil wire, hold it with rubber handled pliers and point it toward the engine about 2 inches from the block? If you have spark there and spark at the plugs then look to the fuel system for your problem. If you DO NOT have spark at the centre terminal of the distributor or at the plugs then your problem is more that likely your ignition amplifier module. 

Why does my car smoke when started after sitting for several days or just overnight?

If you crank your car up after it has been sitting for several days or overnight and it smokes out the tailpipe for a few seconds upon initial start up then the problem is more than likely  leaking valve guides/Valve stem seals. What generally occurs is that the guides/seals wear due to the stress of the valve moving up and down so many times. This basically causes excess clearance between the valve guide and the valve stem. Minor seepage occurs during the rest period allowing oil to leak into the combustion chambers leading to morning smoke!

How do I diagnose a faulty Brake Master cylinder?
Brake Master cylinder failures can often be diagnosed by noting that when sitting at a stop sign or stop light with your foot on the brake pedal that the pedal seems to continue to move toward the floor very slowly. The rubber seals in the master cylinder tend to wear around the edges causing leaking past the seals. Replacement of the master cylinder is the repair!

How do I diagnose a faulty brake booster?
Brake Booster failures can often be identified by noting that you hear a slight air leakage inside the vehicle that seems to change tone when applying the brakes. When the brake booster fails you will often note that the brake pedal feels hard and more force is required to stop the vehicle. Brake booster replacement is the repair!

Why do I hear a High pitch whine when I first crank car?
A whining or high pitched whirring noise that occurs at initial start up can often be attributed to a faulty starter assembly. Another area to look at is the tension of the belt. Weak belt tension can also cause a high pitched whine on initial start up!

Why does my car Stall after it has warmed up?
One common cause of stalling is vacuum leaks. Check all vacuum hoses and fittings. If your vehicle is equipped with emissions equipment such as a charcoal canister, the end of the hoses sometimes crack over time creating a vacuum leak. Stalling can also be caused by an erratic Fuel Control Module. Note: On some vehicles this is called the Electronic Control Module. This might be indicated if the motor almost stalls when you accelerate from a stop and then suddenly slams up to full power.

Why does my car have Black smoke coming from the tailpipe when idling?
Black Smoke streaming from the tailpipe is generally an indication of a faulty Air Mass Meter or Map sensor! There are occasions when a faulty fuel pressure regulator will cause the same symptoms!

Should I turn the Brake rotors?
Most car manufacturers do not recommend turning rotors because the majority of time after turning them they are below the recommended minimum thickness. The recommended minimum thickness is generally stamped on the rotors. This is not to say that car rotors cannot be turned. They can be turned one time but will generally warp within one year because of how thin they become.

Why does my car seem to run hotter than normal? Thermostat diagnosis!
Most of time, Overheating can be attributed to a faulty thermostat. Thermostat failures can be identified by noting that no heat exist or that the hose leading from the thermostat does not feel as though water is flowing through it. This is an indication that the thermostat is not opening! Replacement is the repair!

Why does my headliner sag and How can I fix it?  
 The reason that headliners sag on the car is because the foam between the headliner material and the glued portion of the material erodes with time causing the main portion of the headliner to sag. The only repair is to replace the headliner material by removing the headliner, pulling the old material off, cleaning the fibreglass headliner and gluing new material on.

What are the most common Cruise control failures?
The most common cruise control failures on the car are: pedals switch failures, The cruise control vacuum line cracks (on cars with vacuum controlled systems) & Control module failures. The pedal switch failures are the most common problem with the cruise control not functioning correctly. What generally occurs is that the pedal switches become mis-adjusted or the ears get broken off the switches causing a no contact condition. 

How do I Bleed my hydraulic clutch?
The easiest way to bleed the clutch is to use a pressure bleeder. You apply pressure to the reservoir with air and loosen the nut on the line to the master first. Second, make sure solid fluid with no air comes out of the line. Third,  tighten the line back down at the master cylinder while the fluid is still coming out. Follow the same procedure to bleed the slave as well.

How will I know if my Turbocharger is failing?
Turbocharger failures can often be identified by noting that Small puffs of gray/white smoke begin to stream from the tailpipe when coming to a stop. This is usually an indication that the clearance between the impeller shaft and bearings have become excessive allowing oil to leak past the seals. Another indication of excessive bearing clearance is noting that large amounts of oil show up in the intake manifold.

What Does ABS Brakes Mean?
The term ABS means ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM. The ABS System automatically controls braking at the front wheels individually and the rear wheels as a unit (in most cases) preventing the wheels from locking during a hard braking situation. This enables the driver to maintain STEERING control and also shortens the distance to a complete stop. In cars without ABS, the brake master cylinder actually applied steady pressure to each wheel when the brakes were applied causing the wheels to look under heavy breaking. This led to wheel lockup, loss of steering control & lengthy stopping distances. ABS systems use a hydraulic pump that applies modulating pump pressure during heavy braking. The ABS system in effect pumps the brakes for the driver a consistent frequency. This pulsing is considerably faster than even the most experienced driver could accomplish if he were to attempt to this manually!

Why do I feel a Vibration when applying the Brakes?
A Vibration when applying the brakes in most vehicles can be attributed to warped Rotors. Warped rotors can have several attributing Factors. For example, Over tightened lug nuts can cause rotors to be in a bind therefore leading to warping during one of the next heating and cooling cycles. However, this is not say that this is the leading factor. Rotors tend to warp in general simply because of the number of times they heat up and cool during a year. When you stop suddenly or brake hard the rotors heat up and then cool back down. This often lead to an imbalance or warping. Replacement is the cure. You can often identify this failure by being able to feel a vibration through the break pedal when stopping.

How can I figure out if my clutch assembly needs to be replaced?
Clutch Failures can often be identified by noting that the engine will rev up but the vehicle will not be propelled forward. This is an indication of a worn out clutch disc or pressure plate. It is our recommendation that the pressure plate, Disc, throw-out bearing, Slave & pilot bearing all be replaced when servicing the clutch. These components go through considerable movements daily and all will deteriorate and be in need of replacement at some point as well.

Why Do I hear a low pitched clicking noise when I turn on the inside Fan?
A Low pitched clicking noise that comes from the cabin fan is an indication of bearing failure within the cabin fan. Cabin fan access will depend on the car. In most cases the cabin fan is located under the hood and under the false bulkhead. In some cases the cabin fan is located inside the car under the dash.

Why do I feel a clunking up front when accelerating from a stop?
A Clunking noise that comes from the front end when accelerating from a stop can usually be attributed to a broken engine mounts. In most cases the engine mounts have support straps that will only allow a specific amount of movement when the mounts fail! In some cases failing engine mounts can be identified by noting that you begin to feel vibrations throughout the inside of the vehicle when idling. 

How Can I tell if my front-End is out of alignment?
There are several ways to tell if your vehicles front-end is out of alignment. One, is that the steering wheel may appear to be off centre (an indication of something bent or tie rod ends off centre). Second, your car may pull to the left or right when on flat ground (an indication that the alignment is off). Third, Front tire wear is an indication that problems exist in the front-End. This could mean that the caster or camber is off and in need of adjustment.

Why does my car pull to the left or right when applying the brakes!
In most cases when you apply the brakes and the car pulls to the left or right this can be attributed to a sticking brake calliper. Depending on the application some callipers can be rebuild and in other cases the faulty calliper must be replaced. If your vehicle is equipped with ABS brakes you may find that the valve body in the ABS system is malfunctioning.
NOTE: ABS brakes are under VERY HIGH PRESSURE and should only be worked on by those who are properly trained!

How can I diagnose a faulty Catalytic Converter?
In most cases faulty converters can be identified by noting that your car will not accelerate or seems to have severely diminished power. Many times converters that are clogged up will glow red when the vehicle is running. The reason for the glowing is because of the amount of heat and unburned fuel that collects in front of the clogged up converter. Converter replacement is the only option. A quick way to be sure that the converter is the problem when it is suspect is to disconnect the exhaust system at the header and allow the exhaust to flow without going through the converter. If the converter is the problem the cars power should be restored with the header pipe disconnected.

Why won't my Battery stay charged? How do I diagnose the problem?
In most cases the problem is with the alternator. Check the fluid level in the battery. If it is low, add water to bring it to the correct level. Even if it is a no-maintenance battery you can usually get the vent covers off without damaging them. Charge up the battery to a full charge. With the car running, use a voltmeter to check the voltage across the positive and negative post of the battery. It should read approximately 14 volts. If not, the alternator may be faulty. Turn off the ignition and check the voltage of the battery. It should be above 12 volts. Do not start the car for several hours, preferably overnight, then check the voltage again. If it is within 1/2 volt of the first reading, the battery is probably good.

Why has my Hydraulic Clutch Lost pressure?
Make sure the hydraulic fluid is at the normal level. If you have had to add fluid recently, you most likely have a leak. Check that the bleeding screw is not loose. If there are no leaks the problem is either the clutch slave cylinder or the master cylinder is bad.

Why do I smell Petrol Fumes From my vehicle?
Often there is a small rubber vent hose from the tank to the filler neck that will split or deteriorate and cause petrol fumes to escape. This is particularly noticeable when you exit the vehicle on the side that has the filler neck

Why are my Rotors Warped?
Some reasons that rotors warp:
1. When lug nuts are tightened too much or unevenly, they put pressure on the rotor and can cause it to warp
2. When rotors have been machined, they are more likely to warp because they are thinner.
Notes: Rotors should only be machined if absolutely necessary. New rotors do NOT need to be machined. They only need to be cleaned with a solvent to clean off the protective oily film

My brakes seem to be noisy, what causes this?

in no particular order - questions and answers