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Home > Buyers' Guide > Houston, We Have An Engine Problem
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Few things are more embarrassing to a guy than when his car breaks down due to engine failure (especially with a fuming girlfriend in the front passenger seat). A philosophy such as 's*#t happens' is one that a lot of guys go by, but does it apply to car troubles? Are engine problems really unforeseeable? The simple answer is: Heck, no!

You don't have to be Einstein to know when there's something wrong with your car, as symptoms of trouble are usually pretty obvious. But a lot of guys then go on to ignore the symptoms, somehow thinking that the emerging problem will either not deteriorate, or will, somehow, miraculously fix itself.

Big mistake. Because, guys, if you want to avoid major engine trouble, huge repair bills and, worst of all, the wrath of your girlfriend, you should not only learn to detect signs of an engine malfunction, but learn how to decipher them as well.
The following are some tips for engine problem detection:

  • Try to pinpoint the problem: Is the car not starting? Is it running roughly? Conking out or using too much petrol?
  • After you've detected the problem, isolate the system most likely to be the cause. If it is conking out, then the fuel system might be at fault. If it is not starting, the electrical system may be worth looking at first. If the car is overheating, check the cooling system.
  • After you have isolated the most likely system, locate the weakest link in that system. The fuel pump, for example is often the most vulnerable part of the fuel system.
  • Check each successive part in the system until the problem is solved.
  • Get the broken part replaced or repaired. Consult your car's manual for other specific problems you might be facing. This will help to speed up the diagnosis.
So when you next break up with your gal, you'll, for once, have something other than your car to blame!

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