It seems to be one of life’s mysteries that happen at some point to every car owner: an intermittent problem develops that can’t be recreated at the mechanic’s shop. It can be as simple as a dash light that flashes on and off every now and then or as serious as an engine that stalls while driving on the highway at high speeds. Of course, with an intermittent problem the light flashes on and off with no pattern and the engine doesn’t always stall – just every so often!
It is very aggravating to make an appointment with a mechanic that requires you to take time off from work only to be told the problem can’t be found. How many auto owners have left their cars with the mechanic all day, who can’t find any problem, only to have the car’s problem reappear after leaving the mechanic’s shop and getting halfway home? It can make you feel as if your car is haunted with poltergeists who believe a car with problems is amusing.
Mr. Car… Please Meet Mr. Mechanic
When you have an intermittent car problem, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money on auto diagnostics or repairs that don’t address the real issue. Most people don’t have the time or money to repeatedly take a car to the repair shop. On the other hand, sometimes the mechanic will have to at least try a few repairs based on your description of the problem if the auto has become unsafe. For example, if an engine stalls while in motion, the situation can obviously be quite hazardous.
Before presenting a plan of action for dealing with intermittent car problems, keep in mind you can eliminate the aggravation of frequent trips to the repair shop by using mobile mechanics. A mobile mechanic will come with diagnostic equipment to your car’s location, no matter whether it’s the parking lot at work, your driveway at home or the shoulder on the side of the road. There are many advantages to using a mobile mechanic over a traditional repair shop for identifying and repairing an intermittent auto problem:
* Mechanic is able to check basic car components closer to the time the problem occurs.
* Mechanic can return whenever you call, so you don’t need time off from work or have to leave home.
* Mechanic will document a history of the times your car experiences the intermittent problem to help narrow the possible solutions.
The key to dealing with intermittent car problems is to establish a pattern that the mechanic can use to isolate the problem. Many common auto problems can be fixed with just as common solutions. An experienced mechanic often knows how to fix an intermittent problem based on an accurate description.
For example, when a car engine will turn over but not start, it is usually due to one of a handful of problems.
* Computer or BCM glitches or breakdown
* Bad coil
* Distributor Problems
* Broken ignition module
* Failing fuel pump
* Failing fuel control system
* Starter Motor, Alternator or Battery
If you tell the mechanic the car “won’t start on cold mornings” but leave out the important fact it does “turn over”, he or she is missing critical information. It may not seem important to you, but even small bits of information can assist the mechanic with problem identification.
Following is a plan of action for handling intermittent car problems that will not reoccur when the car is anywhere near a mechanic. First you can, of course, test those components you believe might be causing the problem if you have a basic understanding of auto engines. But if you are uncomfortable with even small auto repairs, then go right to the next step which is documenting patterns.
Randomly occurring auto problems are probably not as random as you think. They are probably happening when a certain set of circumstances exist. You just don’t realize this because of focusing on the car problem. So the best thing to do is create a log that describes these circumstances for the mobile mechanic.
* What you were doing when the problem occurred, i.e. driving, cold start, etc.
* Driving conditions such a heavy traffic start and stops, high speed driving, short trip driving
* Time of day , i.e. early morning after car sits all night or in the afternoon when the temperature is warmest
* Weather such as heavy rains or blazing heat
* Kind of noise the car makes before, during, and after the problem occurs
* Problem description
* What you do to temporarily overcome the car problem
Describing what you do to temporarily overcome the intermittent car problem can often provide important clues. For example, if you jiggle the key in the starter when the car won’t start, and the engine roars to life, then the mechanic knows to check the starter or starter wiring first.
When you are talking to your mobile mechanic about the car problem, you should also make sure you mention any recent prior events or repairs involving your car. For example, did you run out of gas several times in the last month? Was your car recently repaired? If you had used the same Mobile Car Care service for all your repairs and maintenance, the mechanic would already know the answer to this question!
It is always important to be familiar with the basic components and maintenance of your car. But most intermittent problems require the assistance of a mechanic. Though keeping a log may seem tedious to some people, it is amazing how quickly a pattern may be established as to when the car problem occurs. For example, you may learn the car engine stalls only when it is raining heavily and you are driving over 35 miles an hour on a curve! If so, your mobile mechanic needs to know!