Tag Archives: car trouble

How to Speak Mechanic

Have you ever experienced a moment like this with your Mechanic?

Car trouble symptoms can indicate minor or major problems with your vehicle. This glossary of terms should help you identify what’s going wrong with your vehicle and assist you in letting your GM Certified Technician know exactly what’s been happening as well as helping you understand your mechanic in return. At the Perry Auto Group, we’d like to clear up a few questions:

Brakes Description
Brake fade Stopping distance seems to increase, causing longer braking distance, similar to braking at high speeds
Low brake pedal Brake pedal must be pushed unusually far to engage brakes
Brake pedal pulsation Brake pedal fluctuates while brakes are applied
Grabs Vehicle has a tendency to move right or left when brakes are applied; brakes engage suddenly when applying steady pressure to brake pedal
Engine Description
Cuts out Temporary complete loss of power. Engine quits at irregular intervals. May occur repeatedly or intermittently, usually under heavy acceleration.
Detonation Mild to severe pings, usually worse under acceleration. Sounds like popcorn popping.
Dieseling Engine runs after ignition switch is turned off. Runs unevenly and may make knocking noises.
Hesitation Momentary lack of response as accelerator is pressed. Can occur at any speed. Usually most severe when starting from complete stop. May cause engine to stall.
Miss Pulsation or jerking that changes with engine speed. Exhaust has a steady spitting sound at idle or low speed. Not normally felt above 30 mph.
Rough idle Engine runs unevenly at idle. Car may also shake.
Sluggish Engine delivers limited power under load or at high speed. Won’t accelerate as fast as normal. Loses speed going up hills. Vehicle has less speed than normal.
Spongy Little or no increase in speed when accelerator is pushed down. Continuing to push pedal down will eventually give an increase in speed.
Stall Engine stops running or dies out. May occur at idle or while driving.
Surge Vehicle speeds up and slows down with no change on accelerator pedal. Can occur at any speed.
Steering & Handling Description
Bottoming Suspension moves to extreme end of travel and hits compression bumpers. Feels like a heavy thud.
Excessive play Steering wheel must be turned unusually far before vehicle responds.
Hard steering Vehicle difficult to steer, especially during parking situations or when first started.
Pulls Vehicle moves to one side when steering wheel is released.
Shimmy Rapid side-to-side motion of both front wheels felt in steering wheel.
Sway/pitching Mushy or spongy ride; vehicle takes a long time to recover from bumps in the road.
Vibration Vehicle shakes.
Wanders Vehicle meanders, requiring frequent steering adjustments to maintain direction.
Odors & Stains Description
Antifreeze or coolant leak Sweet odor, usually accompanied by steam from under the hood.
Axle leaks Black stains with heavy, thick consistency.
Burning oil Thick, heavy odor, sometimes accompanied by smoke from under the hood or from the exhaust
Coolant streaks Yellow, green, pink, or orange stains that are lighter and thinner than oil.
Crankcase, oil, power-steering fluid leaks Brownish stains
Electrical short Acrid odor, like burned toast
Emission Contigious, heavy sulfur odor like rotten eggs
Overheated brakes or clutch Burning rubber odor
Overheating Hot, metallic odor usually accompanied by antifreeze/coolant odor.
Transmission oil leaks Reddish stains
For answers to all your service related questions feel free to contact us at Performance Chevrolet Service Department.
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