For most people, many of the processes that take place in their car remain shrouded in mystery. Even interpreting the symptoms of common problems can prove difficult, especially to those who don’t have a background in automotive mechanics. As a result, relatively minor problems can grow into more serious ones.
Fortunately, many of the cars being manufactured today contain sophisticated instruments that assist the car in monitoring internal processes. These instruments take a lot of guesswork out of the equation for drivers who aren’t familiar with automotive mechanics. This article takes a closer look at three automotive problems that many cars can diagnose all on their own.
Low Tire Pressure
Many people fail to realize what a huge role tire pressure plays on the overall safety of a vehicle. Under-inflated tires experience a much greater likelihood of blowouts. As tire pressure drops, more and more surface area of the tire comes into contact with the road. This increased contact leads to more friction, and in turn to overheating. Tire blowouts often follow.
The United States government considered this risk to be so great that in 2007, the TREAD Act was passed requiring all new light motor cars to include tire pressure monitoring systems, or TPMS for short. These systems continuously measure the pressure in your tires. If one or more tires reach an underinflated state, the TPMS triggers a dash light to come on.
Be sure you know where the precise location of the TMPS light on your dashboard is. The symbol looks like a horseshoe-shaped icon, meant to mimic the appearance of a flat tire, with an exclamation point in the center. Always check your tire pressure as soon as possible when you notice this light come on.
Loose Gas Cap
In addition to the TPMS light, your car’s dash contains warning lights for numerous other monitoring systems, including the dreaded check engine light. While the check engine light may indicate a serious problem, more benign issues may also be at play. For instance, many people express surprise to learn that, for certain cars, the check engine light may come on as a response to a loose gas cap.
If a gas cap doesn’t form an air-tight seal, the pressure inside of your car’s fuel lines can change. More specifically, the vacuum caused by a loose gas cap lowers the pressure below normal levels. Monitoring systems can often register this change, which will trigger the check engine light. In many cases, you may find that tightening up your cap will cause the check engine light to turn off.
In other cases, however, the problem may be more severe. If the gas cap has become cracked, or if the rubber gasket inside is excessively worn, you may not be able to correct the problem so easily, and a new gas cap will need to be installed. As a result, you could potentially remain unaware of more serious engine problems that develop.
Humidity may not strike you as a huge threat to a car. Yet, changes in humidity can actually put you at risk, since the humidity can cause the windshield to fog up. To prevent this visual obstruction while driving, many newer cars integrate special humidity sensors as part of their HVAC package.
A humidity sensor will monitor the amount of water vapor present in the air inside of your car. Should humidity levels rise too high, the sensor automatically alters the amount of air being projected onto your windows in order to prevent fogging.
For more information about the diagnostic sensors in your car, please contact the auto specialists at Evans Tire & Service Centers.