We’ve all either heard of someone or been that someone who tries to show their mechanic a car problem, only for it to magically disappear once you finally get to the shop. Car problems are frustrating and disheartening, as they can disrupt your entire day, week, and lifestyle.
But these car problems become even worse when they are intermittent, meaning they happen sometimes whereas other times, they’re completely fine. These problems are random, not caused by any action in the car, meaning they’re difficult to replicate. They might not even occur during a thorough test drive. These sorts of intermittent problems are challenging for even the most experienced mechanic to solve.
What Makes Some Problems So Tricky
It takes a village to run your vehicle, and not every piece of equipment inside is the same. There are computers that control everything from your engine and transmission to your climate controls and infotainment systems. Before getting started on a repair, your mechanic has to figure out if your issue is mechanical, electrical, or electronic.
When your car is experiencing intermittent problems, it can be much more challenging for your mechanic to figure this part out, and without this knowledge, it’s tough to solve anything. Intermittent car problems can require a lot of time to diagnose. It may even take several visits to the repair shop to completely resolve the issue. Both you and your mechanic may become very frustrated.
How These Problems Are Solved
When faced with intermittent problems, your mechanic must eventually become like a detective, scouring every piece of the car. Your mechanic can use any information available, but often, when it comes to intermittent issues, other methods are utilized, such as:
Checking the TSBs
Technical Service Bulletins, or TSBs, are released by vehicle manufacturers to alert the auto service community to specific problems that can crop up on their vehicles. Your mechanic can check the TSBs for your car, to find out whether any similar types of intermittent car problems have occurred to other vehicles that are like it. If the specific issue is the subject of a TSB, there should also be a tested and proven fix provided.
If your check engine light is not illuminated due to a malfunction, there could be trouble codes, historical data, or abnormal readings in the engine or powertrain computers. These clues can point your mechanic in the right direction.
The Battery and Charging System
Electrical problems with your battery, alternator and related components can have a harmful effect on your car’s electronics. The insufficient or excessive voltage could be the cause of your occasional car problems. The ground wire should also be checked to verify that it is securely connected.
The Cooling System
Problems with your car’s thermostat, electric cooling fan, radiator, or coolant level may cause your car to run too hot, creating the opportunity for intermittent car problems in other parts of your engine or vehicle.
Wiring and Connections
A loose or corroded wire or connector, one that alternately makes and breaks contact as the vehicle moves, can be the cause of some seemingly random car problems. Relays and switches in the affected system should also be checked for proper operation.
Aftermarket accessories are features that are added to the car after it leaves the factory. These include upgraded audio systems, alarm systems, supplemental lighting, and remote starters. Aftermarket items are notorious for shoddy installation quality, and the electrical glitches they bring could be causing your problems.
Narrow Down the Cause
Even if it seems like your intermittent problem is happening completely randomly, it might be happening with a cause you don’t quite understand or recognize, such as wet streets, cold weather, or cruising at a certain speed. Try to pay careful attention when the problem happens so you can help your mechanics.
Have Patience and Trust Your Mechanic
Intermittent car problems can take some time to resolve. If you have faith in your mechanic and believe that he or she can diagnose and fix your problem, ask about the best way to proceed. Give your mechanic every bit of information and “evidence” that you can remember about the nature of your intermittent car problems, and precisely when they occur. This will be of great value.
You may need to leave your vehicle with your mechanic for a few days to figure out the issue, but after that, they will work with you to make sure it gets figured out and repaired. To learn more about how Euro Motorworks can become your partner, ensuring your vehicle is safe and sound, contact us today.