With a little research on your vehicle, you can avoid future repair problems. Whether you are mechanically savvy or not, you can detect many common vehicle problems simply by using your senses of smell and sight.
TAKE A GOOD LOOK!
Are there any stains or drops of fluid under your vehicle? There may be no problem whatsoever, however you do want to check for wet spots, as this could be a symptom of a serious problem.
What color is the liquid under the car? Yellowish green, blue or orange colors can show an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak. You could have a leaky radiator or a water pump in need of repair. If this is the problem, you need to get to a repair shop immediately.
A dark brown or black oily fluid can show that the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could be the cause of the leak. The repair for this problem can be exorbitant, so you will want to seek out a reputable mechanic right away.
A red oily looking spot shows a transmission or power steering fluid leak. Another reason to see your car doctor!
Sometimes the liquid is clear, and this is usually normal condensation from your vehicle's air conditioner. There is no need for concern.
If you see light smoke coming from a wheel - it could be a stuck brake. Call a tow truck.
Smoke coming from any part of the vehicle shows a need for repair.
TAKE A WHIFF!
Sniff around, and you may detect your vehicles problem.
The smell of burned toast can signal an electrical short and burning insulation. Have a mechanic come to look at your car. Do not risk driving it anywhere.
A rotten egg smell usually shows a problem in the catalytic converter. You will need to take the vehicle in for repair as soon as possible.
A thick sharp odor usually shows burning oil. Look under the car to see if there is a leak. There could be a bluish smoke coming from your vehicle, too. This problem needs to be addressed immediately!
The smell of gas after a failed start may mean the engine is flooded. Just wait a couple of minutes and try again. If you keep noticing the gas odor, this could be a sign of a leak in the fuel system - a potentially dangerous problem that needs immediate attention.
Do you notice a sweet odor? This may show a coolant leak. Watch your temperature gauge, warning light and drive to a repair shop. Now, if you see steam emerging from under the hood, stop and pull over. You definitely do not want to keep driving an overheated vehicle. Your engine will most likely be seriously damaged. Call a tow truck.
The basic rule of smell is that if you do notice an unusual odor - get to a mechanic or get one to come to you.
Follow these simple guidelines, keep your eyes and nose open, and you could end saving hundreds of dollars in repair!