4 Common Vehicle Issues That Are Often Misdiagnosed

Service engine soon, check engine, oil pressure, and engine temperature lights on dashboard of a car or truck

The list of things that can go wrong with a vehicle might not be endless, but it’s close. Once you finally decide that it’s time to take your car into the shop because those noises you’ve been hearing can no longer be ignored, the repair work begins at the diagnostic stage. Just like your body, similar symptoms can be caused by a range of different problems. If you find yourself dealing with something covered in this article, double-check to make sure you’re utilizing the right fix. Below are four of the most commonly-misdiagnosed vehicle issues:

1. Car Won’t Start

There’s never a good time to experience the feeling of triggering the ignition only to get silence (or a sputter) in return. Most car owners will initially blame the battery, which is an accurate assessment in most cases. However, replacing your battery isn’t always the right solution. Your battery needs a functioning alternator to stay charged, and if you replace a dead battery without fixing the alternator, you’re going to find yourself in the same position sooner than you’d like. Our advice? The next time you experience the traditional ‘dead battery’ signs, give your alternator a look to make sure it’s working properly.

2. Check Engine Light

The dreaded check engine light is one of the last things a car owner ever wants to see. That tiny light might as well just be a red dollar sign, because getting it to go away is rarely cheap. Here’s the good news: sometimes it’s not the end of the world.

Many car electronic systems will trigger the check engine light when sensors get confused by a loose gas cap. It should be stated that this is an all-time “best case scenario” situation, but perhaps this information can save a handful of lucky drivers a trip to the shop. If tightening the gas cap doesn’t fix it, that’s where we come in. Our expert and certified service technicians – located at each of our 43 convenient Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers – can diagnose and repair the problem as efficiently and affordably as possible.

3. Fluid Leaks

Power steering fluid, engine oil, coolant, antifreeze…there are several different liquids your vehicle requires. At some point, there’s a good chance you’ll notice one of these substances pooling up under your vehicle after it’s been sitting for a few hours. The question then is: which fluid is the culprit? 

There are two things you should do when identifying the type of leak you’re dealing with: first and foremost, check to see if the fluid is a bright color – if so, it’s probably a coolant. If that’s not it, see if you can find where the leak is coming from, while checking your power steering fluid levels at the same time. Typically fixing a fluid leak (or replacing the fluid) isn’t going to break the bank, but getting the problem taken care of quickly can help you avoid a bigger issue down the road.

4. Vehicle Pulling to One Side

Very few cars are going to glide perfectly straight when you aren’t manipulating the steering wheel, but you shouldn’t feel a noticeable pull to one side or the other. If you do, the first place to check is your tires. It’s commonly-believed that pulling to one side is a symptom of misalignment, but often times it’s just an inflation issue. Check your tire pressure and see if each one is inflated to roughly the same PSI. If this doesn’t solve the problem, bring your vehicle in and we’ll get things straightened out, literally.

Stop Problems Before They Start – Book a Routine Maintenance Appointment Today!

The expert and certified service technicians at each of our 43 convenient Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers are well-trained in identifying the problem and finding a solution. If you notice something is off, don’t wait for the problem to get worse – trust us, the issue isn’t going to go away on its own. Getting your issue fixed quickly is good, but with regular servicing, you can avoid many costly problems altogether! Get in touch today to schedule a routine maintenance appointment and we’ll get you back on the road with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your vehicle is in good shape.