How to Diagnose Car Trouble


Few would argue against the notion that it is healthier and more environmentally friendly to walk or ride a bike as a means of travel; however, when commuting vast distances it becomes necessary to use another form of transportation. For some people a motorcycle is the preferred choice while others relay on forms of public transit. Nevertheless, for most people that live in an urban area and have to commute a moderate distance for their profession, a car is the most practical means of transportation. Most people are dependent upon their vehicle to get them around the city and for the commute to and from work. Considering this, it is important that a person’s car is functioning properly. However, this is often not the case and sooner or later the average commuter will experience car trouble. In this instance it can be very helpful to know how to diagnose what is wrong with your vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Car manual
  • Diagnostic meter
  • Check for any warning lights on the instrument panel if your car is not functioning properly. Often there are indicator lights that flash to inform the driver of possible problems with the vehicle. Check to see if the reading on the gauges is correct.

  • Check the vehicle manual to see what the indicator lights are referencing. Sometimes a check engine light will come on and there will be other possibilities for this besides engine malfunction. Check to see what the proper reading for the car’s gauges should be.

  • Inspect the engine compartment for any obvious problems. Sometimes the connection on the battery terminal is bad, preventing the car from receiving power to start. Check for any electrical wires that might be disconnected. Depending on the driver’s knowledge of cars, inspecting for more complex problems may be possible.

  • Check the fuse box if you can gain access to it. On newer cars it is usually located in the engine compartment. On older vehicles, the fuse box is sometimes on the floor board by the driver's pedals. If a fuse is blown, then this is most likely the culprit for your car trouble. If you are unsure of what kind of fuse to buy, take it to a representative at an automotive retail store. They should be able to advise you on what type of replacement fuse to buy.

  • Use a diagnostic meter. If you have a diagnostic meter, it is recommended that you take advantage of it. A diagnostic meter should help to determine what is causing your car trouble.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes the problem can be very simple to fix. It may be a loose connection on a battery terminal or an electrical wire that is disconnected. Don’t overlook the obvious.

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