19 Most Common Car Issues

Published on

May 28, 2024

man standing over the engine of his car with the hood up -- he is expericing one of the 19 most common car issues

Your car or truck is a major investment, let us share with you some of the most common problems to watch out for to ensure your investment will last you a long time. The good news is that preventative maintenance and regular service can really help to extend your vehicle’s life. In this post, we'll discuss some of the most common vehicle issues (and what you can do about them).

Engine Problems

The single most important component under the hood of your vehicle is also one of the more problematic ones.

Check Engine Light

A check engine light may illuminate the dash for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it's a bad catalytic converter, faulty spark plugs, a bad oxygen sensor, or even something minor like a loose gas cap–they can all trigger the check engine light. When it comes on, make sure to find your local auto repair shop in the GreatWater network to get a diagnostic check and resolve the problem.

Overheating Issues

If your engine is overheating, it's likely because there's something up with the coolant system. From a coolant leak to a clogged hose, many coolant system-related issues can cause vehicles to overheat.

Oil Leaks

Seeing a pool of black liquid forming under your vehicle when you're parked? You've likely got an oil leak which could have many causes including a bad oil pan. 

Transmission Troubles

The transmission is the second-most important component under your vehicle's hood - and it's also susceptible to its share of issues. If you notice slipping when changing gears that could be an early sign your transmission is failing.

Slipping Gears

Are your gears not sticking as you're driving? Slipping gears are likely a sign of internal damage. It could also just mean that you need your transmission fluid flushed.

Delayed Shifting

A delayed shift is when you're pressing down the pedal and it's several seconds before the transmission changes gears. Delayed shifting is often the result of poor transmission maintenance.

Braking System Concerns

Driving is one thing–stopping is another. There's no more important system for stopping your vehicle than the brake system.

Squeaky Brakes

If your brakes are squeaking or squealing, you may need to replace your brake pads or even your brake rotors. Failing to address brake issues could lead to more expensive repairs in the long-term (not to mention pose a safety issue).

Brake Fluid Leaks

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that helps the brakes operate effectively. Leaking brake fluid can lead to a multitude of problems, including total system failure.

Battery & Electrical Problems

The battery is key to starting your car and making all of its other electrical features tick.

Dead Battery

Batteries only tend to last for three to five years–and when they fail, it’s never an ideal time. We can help with battery testing and replacements with great warranties to avoid being stuck. 

Faulty Alternator

Alternators work to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy to assist with powering the various components of your vehicle. You'll know when it's failing, as the car will gradually lose power.

Tire & Wheel Concerns

Don't overlook the four tires that your vehicle drives on. They can have an impact on performance and safety as well. The good news is your local GreatWater-affiliated shop includes tire experts who can recommend, sell, and install the top tires on the market. 

Uneven Tire Wear

If your vehicle is out of alignment or you're not regularly rotating your tires, it's going to result in uneven tread wear and lead to more frequent tire replacement.

Wheel Alignment Issues

Car pulling to one side? Tires wearing unevenly? Problems steering? Wheel alignment issues can pose both a safety and performance threat.

Fuel System Challenges

Engine performance can also be affected by problems with the fuel system. Two common challenges are fuel pump failure and clogged injectors.

Fuel Pump Failure

If your engine is sputtering or running hot, the culprit could be the fuel pump. The fuel pump brings gas from the gas tank to the engine.

Clogged Fuel Injectors

Engine sputtering may also be linked to clogged fuel injectors. A good, thorough cleaning by one of our certified technicians can have them working like new.

Exhaust System Malfunctions

Exhaust problems will impact your fuel economy, engine performance, and create excessive noise and air pollution.

Leaking Exhaust

A leaking exhaust isn't just going to lead to issues with engine performance–it's also going to create excessive exhaust emissions.

Noisy Muffler

You don't want to have a car that everyone can hear as soon as it turns on your block–but a noisy muffler will do that to you. A noisy muffler often indicates that it has a hole or a crack in it.

Suspension and Steering Issues

A healthy suspension often translates to a smooth, steady ride. And any issues with steering are going to make your vehicle that much more difficult to maneuver.

Vibrations While Driving

Car shaking or vibrating as you drive? It's likely an issue with the suspension and/or the steering–and it could pose a danger on the road.

Power Steering Failure

If your power steering goes out, it's going to be a lot more difficult to turn your vehicle. Fluid leaks are a common cause of power steering failure, among other potential issues.

  • Fluid Leaks: If your fluid is leaking, it will become increasingly more difficult to steer your vehicle. Make sure to address any hoses or seals that are causing leaks.
  • Malfunctioning Power Steering Pump: The power steering pump plays a crucial role in generating hydraulic pressure for steering assistance. If it malfunctions, steering becomes extremely difficult.
  • Damaged Steering Rack: The steering rack is essential for controlling the vehicle's direction. Damage to the steering rack can contribute to power steering failure. 

If you notice any of these issues, give us a call at your local GreatWater 360 Auto Care affiliated shop and we’ll get you back on the road safely.

HVAC System Failures

Creature comforts are a big part of a well-operating vehicle. It's only natural to want to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, whether you're in your vehicle, your home, or elsewhere. Unfortunately, cooling and heating issues are overly common vehicle problems.

A/C Not Cooling

A malfunctioning air conditioner could stem from bad seals to bad system components to a loss of refrigerant.

  • Coolant Leaks: Damaged or worn-out seals in the air conditioning system can lead to a loss of refrigerant, affecting cooling performance.
  • Malfunctioning Components: The air conditioner may not cool effectively if there are issues with crucial components, such as the compressor, condenser, or evaporator.

Heater Malfunctions

Car isn't heating properly during the winter months? While it's possible to sacrifice air conditioning during the summer, you definitely don't want to be without heat during the winter. Common culprits include the heater switching system, a clogged air filter, or a bad thermostat valve.

Contact your local GreatWater Shop Today

For more information on these common car issues and to schedule an appointment to fix any of them, locate your local GreatWater 360 affiliated shop today. As a network of local full-service automotive service centers, we repair everything–no matter how big or how small.