Car Care Questions | Denton Automotive Question & Answer | Frequently Asked Questions | Vehicle Repair Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from Denton Texas Car Care Specialists

Why is my brake system warning light on?

Several things could be going on with your vehicle. It could be that your emergency brake is engaged, your brake system fluid reservoir is low or out of brake fluid, or that at least half of your brake system (front or rear) is not working. If the brake fluid is low, you should refill it and check for leaks or for worn brake pads, since this causes your braking system to use more fluid, especially on rear brakes.

Other brake failure could result from failure of the master cylinder, failure of the front or rear brake caliper seals, rust or corrosion causing rear wheel cylinder seals to leak, or rubber flex hoses on any of the brakes failing. If you have an antilock braking system (ABS), you may have an additional warning light, which tells you that the ABS part of the system has failed or is passive. Your light may also have a short, which is causing it to light up even without any brake issues. Have a qualified auto technician check your braking system for problems immediately.

Why is my car making a grinding noise?

The answer to this question depends on the area from which the grinding is generated. One of the most common causes of grinding noises is brakes that are worn and need replacement. However, other reasons you may be experiencing this condition include axle bearing failure, engine and transmission mount failure, and broken brake rotors. If you have a vehicle with a standard transmission, there could be grinding when shifting gears, meaning possible clutch failure. Power steering fluid being low can also lead to grinding noises, as can tire wear. Our Denton automotive repair technicians can help you to find the source of the grinding and make repairs to assure the integrity of your vehicle.

Why is my car vibrating?

As with most symptoms, the vibration in your car could be coming from one of several sources. One such cause is failure of engine mounts, which are made to minimize engine vibration, loosening or failing. You should also check the harmonic balancer, which is used to help silence engine vibration. If the vehicle vibrates only when the air conditioning is running, it could mean the expansion valve or office tube is plugged or that the system has excessive oil or refrigerant. An automatic transmission employs a flex plate to, among other things, allow the starter to engage and crank the engine. If the internal weights become dislodged, this could lead to vibration in your auto. Other things to check include:

  • Front brake rotors
  • Power steering fluid
  • Front drive axle CV joints
  • Automatic transmission fluid
  • Drive shaft U joints
  • Axle bearings
  • Tire wear patterns

What is the strange smell coming from my car?

Assess the type of smell you are sensing so that you can better judge the cause of the odor.

Burning Plastic – Typically caused by a wiring short or electrical fire.

Sweet smell – Usually the scent of antifreeze, symptomatic of an engine or cooling system coolant leak.

Burnt Toast – Usually an oil leak but could also be burning automatic transmission fluid. Both situations mean a possible leak that needs to be repaired.

Diesel Fumes – Most commonly from the outside of the car, meaning your cabin air filter has reached the end of its service life and should be replaced.

Carbon Monoxide – This is usually just the smell of exhaust fumes, since carbon monoxide doesn’t have an odor. This designates a leak in your exhaust system and should be addressed immediately.

Musty Mildew – Mold and mildew are growing on the air conditioning evaporator and should be cleaned or replaced.

Gasoline – A leak in the fuel tank or fuel lines – this is extremely dangerous and could lead to car fires.