Common Car Problems & How to Fix Them

As every driver knows, like all machines, cars often break down. There are a lot of moving parts, and wear and tear are inevitable, especially when people use their cars every day to cross kilometres.

There are some car repairs that are beyond the abilities of the average driver. AutoOne Service has some special equipment in our shop that you’re not going to have at home.

However, drivers should feel connected to their vehicles, and there are some repairs you can take on yourself. Please keep reading to learn about a few of the jobs you can do on your own.

Changing a Tire

Many drivers worry that they’ll get stuck on some remote road with a flat tire. Maybe they can call AAA to change their tire for them, but even if they can, it usually takes a while for them to arrive.

There are a few steps to take when it comes to changing tires. First, pull over somewhere safe. Put your hazard lights on to alert other drivers to give you some space. Your parking brake will keep the car absolutely still.

Assuming you have the essentials like a jack, wrench, and spare tire, you should also get other useful objects like a flashlight, mat for kneeling, gloves, tire gauge, and your owner’s manual.

Pry the hubcaps off and loosen the lug nuts with the wrench by turning it counter-clockwise. Next, put the jack under the metal portion of your vehicle’s frame, not the plastic moulding — consult your owner’s manual if you’re unsure where to put it, as every car is a little different.

Be sure to keep the lug nuts somewhere safe, so you don’t misplace one. Once they’re all off, nothing is keeping the tire in place, and you can remove it by pulling it towards you. Push the spare tire into place, then begin tightening the lug nuts, but not all the way.

Lower your car gradually until the spare tire begins to touch the ground, but not quite all the way. Secure the lug nuts in a way that keeps the spare tire straight. For this, you’ll need to turn each lug nut gradually, and alternate which ones you turn. For example, give the first lug nut a turn, then the third, then the fifth. Afterwards, turn the second and fourth, before turning to the first, third, and fifth.

Finally, lower your vehicle all the way, then finish securing the lug nuts by turning them as much as possible in the same order as before. Clean up any tools used and make sure you put everything away in your vehicle.

This type of knowledge should help you drive in far-flung places more confidently. Winter driving dictates most tire change in Toronto servicing, and AutoOne Service is more than happy to swap out your spring for winter tires or vice versa or rotate them to give them the longest life possible.

However, knowing how to tend to your own tires in the event of an emergency helps you drive safely and confidently, no matter where you are.

Oil Change

All machines with moving metal parts need to be oiled. Dry machines break down faster, and oil is a lubricant that keeps everything moving smoothly. It also helps with cleaning and heat dissipation. Oil changes are something everybody knows a little about, but there’s more to it than you may think.

The general rule of thumb is to get an oil change every three months or 5,000 kilometres, whatever comes first. Some mechanics will say this isn’t quite necessary, that every vehicle is different and it’s better to check your specifications and see what’s required.

You also need to know what type of oil your vehicle requires. In Canada, temperatures can fluctuate so badly that oils vary in viscosity, 10W-30 being the most common.

Knowing when to go for an oil change and when not to, and what oil to use, can help extend your vehicle’s lifetime and save you money. For example, going too infrequently for an oil change because you think synthetic oil doesn’t need to be changed as frequently can void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Our auto repair shop in Toronto has mechanics who regularly service rare luxury sports cars and the most popular sedans. We know about every type of car and what oil it needs. While staying armed with the specific knowledge to keep your vehicle in excellent shape is advisable for every driver, we can help with all routine maintenance, such as oil changes.

When to Tackle Exhaust Problems Yourself

Exhaust problems can be…exhausting! You want the parts of your vehicle that collect and safely expel the harmful exhaust fumes to work properly. An exhaust that works the way it should also reduce emissions and lowers the volume of the car’s engine. There are practical, environmental and financial reasons for keeping your exhaust in good condition.

If you’re handy and you own a fair number of tools, maybe you can take on some exhaust repairs. By and large, it’s better to hand it over to experienced experts who deal with these issues routinely.

AutoOne Service also handles any custom exhaust work you want to be done, as well as repairs. The days of inexpensive mufflers uncovered by warranties and designed to wear out after a couple of years are over. Today’s parts made of high-quality steel allow for more complexity.

Here’s a list of the exhaust services we deliver:

  • Exhaust repair and replacement
  • Muffler repair and replacement
  • Tailpipe repair and replacement
  • Catalytic converter repair
  • Exhaust manifold repair
  • Custom exhaust fabrication
  • Exhaust upgrades

Exhausts need to be up to snuff, so your vehicle drives properly. Unless you’re especially adept at fixing cars, it’s probably best to leave this work to us.

Spark Plug Replacement

If the fuel in your engine can’t ignite, your car won’t run. That’s why small pieces like the spark plug can cause huge problems.

If you know how to fix a spark plug and feel confident, such a repair is possible. The actual plug itself isn’t expensive, but if you make a mistake or wait too long to replace it, the damage could be costly to reverse.

Like pretty much all aspects of home car repair, it’s safer to entrust this to a professional.

Electrical System

Your car’s electrical components need to be replaced from time to time, such as fuses and light bulbs. These tiny repairs can absolutely be done from home and don’t require a specialist. Just make sure you have the right fuses or bulbs.

However, there’s a huge difference between the minor electrical parts in a traditional petrol car and an e-vehicle or hybrid that relies on electric components. The electric and hybrid vehicle market is exploding now because of how these vehicles save drivers money at the pump and reduce their carbon footprint.

We offer auto electrical service that covers your HVAC system, high-voltage power units, and charging units. AutoOne Service also handles regular maintenance and repair, such as:

  • Factory scheduled maintenance
  • State of health
  • Battery testing and conditioning
  • High voltage battery testing and conditioning
  • High voltage cable inspection and repair
  • Brake system repair and maintenance
  • Transmission fluid flush
  • Heating and cooling system rep

The most advanced electric vehicles in the world still need to be maintained. You can take on minor electrical repairs, but don’t take on any work if you’re unsure, especially if it could be costly and difficult to reverse.

Cabin Air Filter

We spend a lot of time in our cars, and we all want to breathe healthy air that smells fresh. Air filters have been a standard part of auto equipment since the turn of the century. Air filters manage to clean the air that enters through the vents before it reaches the cabin.

A cabin air filter is not unlike HVAC filters that keep bugs, debris, leaves, and more from getting inside the ventilation system, where it can cause damage or funny odours.

Changing your air filter cabin is pretty easy, so long as you know where it is. It’s not always in the same place in every vehicle. Often, you’ll find it behind a plastic door underneath the hood, either just below the passenger-side windshield wiper or behind the glove box.

If you find it, you can do this repair yourself and save some money. The possibility of making a costly error here after going it alone is extremely remote. You can buy scented filters that keep your car smelling great.

Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades

Windshield wipers play a huge role when it comes to car safety. You can’t possibly drive safely unless you can see, and windshield wipers are necessary for rainy months and with the snow of the Canadian winter.

However, windshield wipers get dried out from sun exposure or simply worn from wear. The good news is that replacing them isn’t super expensive, and you can often get them installed by the technician for free. Still, it’s better to know how to do it yourself. You may be in a situation where you need to re-attach it yourself.

There are three parts to a windshield wiper: the wiper arm, which attaches directly to the car; the wiper blade, which attaches directly to the wiper arm and holds the rubber insert; and the rubber insert, which is what clears the rain and snow.

Some cars use one long and one short blade to clean the window, so make sure you know what size blades you need. First, put a towel on the windshield before removing the blade, so it doesn’t snap back and hit the glass.

Press the small tab on the windshield wiper blade to release the old wiper blade and slide it off the hook. If there’s a pin instead of a hook, pull up on the blade’s tab, then remove the blade from the pin on the wiper’s arm.

Once the old blade is off, swipe the new one into its place. You should hear a click once it’s securely fastened. Make sure that the blade you put on aligns with the right-sized wiper if these are different.

Word to the wise: during winter, keep your windshield wipers raised from the glass before a snowstorm, so ice doesn’t form on them. Not only will your windshield wipers not be frozen stuck, but once they unfreeze, ice on the blades can damage your windshield by repeatedly dragging across the glass.

Patching Flat Tires

If your car gets a flat tire in a remote location and it’s losing air, there’s a way to temporarily seal the leak and patch the tire. There are repair stems you can buy that fit into the tire and a repair patch that fits on top of that.

Commonly known as a patch/plug repair, they’re usually performed using a one-piece repair unit that combines both parts. The repair bonds permanently inside the tire and injury channel using a cold, chemical vulcanizing process. The repair fuses with the tire, creating an air-tight seal.

To be clear, this should only be used as a temporary measure in an emergency. If this happens to you, visit AutoOne Service to get your tires repaired or replaced safely. The last thing you want is to lose control on the road because your tire gets blown out. Leading body shops give you peace of mind when it comes to tire repair, which needs to be handled carefully because that’s the only part of a car that actually touches the road.

Knowing how to tinker with your vehicle was easier when cars were more straightforward. Now, with more auto manufacturers making innovative designs and even using alternative types of engines, drivers shouldn’t be expected to look under the hood and fix every problem.

However, we rely on our cars to get around, and you’ll save money and drive safer by keeping yours in tip-top shape. If there are minor issues such as those described above, perhaps you can take a look at them yourself. Otherwise, trust the experts at AutoOne Service.