How To Diagnose Your Car At Home

Uzoamaka Ezenobi

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If you don’t know how to diagnose your car when it develops a fault and immediately head to an auto repair workshop, you may be throwing away some bucks. While it’s important to keep up with vehicle maintenance, going to the mechanic too soon may result in extra bucks leaving your pocket.

In addition to paying for repairs you could have done yourself, some repair shops will detect other issues whether or not your car requires them at that moment.

Becoming acquainted with your car issues will make you feel good about yourself and save money.

So if you have been meaning to learn how to diagnose your car, you are in the right place.

Different Ways To Diagnose Your Car At Home

There are various ways to find out if your car has any issues. They are as follows:

1. Smoke From Under The Hood

This picture shows a car that smoke is coming from the hood.

Suppose you don’t know anything about diagnosing a car and see smoke coming from your vehicle. It’s not something to panic about.

There are so many reasons why this could happen. If you recently changed your oil, it can be that the oil cap mistakenly lifted off. It could also be that the radiator hose is cracked and needs replacement.

But if you notice a lot of white smoke, the engine is likely overheating, and you need to check your car coolant.

To avoid this issue, you should do routine maintenance while keeping an eye on your car’s fluid level.

2. Warning Lights

The Onboard Diagnostics Reader helps car owners to get detailed information about the car issues.

When you see warning lights on your car’s dashboard, know they are there for a reason and not for fancy. It would be best if you don’t ignore them. These warning lights are connected to your automobile’s computer and tell you when something is wrong with your car.

Though they offer little information about the issue, it’s still a good start. You can get an Onboard Diagnostics Reader from any car diagnostic. Automobile mechanics also use it to connect to your automobile to get detailed information.

3. Exhaust Smoke

A picture of smoke coming out from a car's exhaust.

You will save a lot of extra bucks if you pay attention to the type of smoke that comes from your car’s exhaust.

When white smoke comes from your tailpipe is a hint that your vehicle coolant is leaking. Blue smoke shows that oil is leaking in with the fuel and evaporating.

Also, if you notice black smoke rising from the exhaust you burn too much fuel. Quickly check your air filter because that could be the problem. It’s also possible that other parts, such as sensors or fuel injectors, are malfunctioning.

Observing unusual exhaust smoke indicates that your automobile needs attention. Try to repair it before it degenerates into something serious.

And if the liquid is sticky but clear, it’s an indication that your brake fluid is leaking. But if the fluid smells like gasoline, then know that fuel is leaking from your vehicle.

4. Puddles Of Fluid

This is a picture of a car leaking fluids.

The water from the air conditioner causes a wet mark on the pavement under your car. So it would be best to take note of any other fluids that seem odd. Examine them to make sure they’re entirely water.

Car fluids have different colors. Your coolant is a transparent, red, or green-colored liquid. While the transmission fluid has a deep red color. Oil is most typically brown or black.

If you can identify what is leaking, you will be able to find where it’s located, and it will give you an idea when describing it to your auto mechanic.

Also read: Do Police Cars Have Bulletproof Doors, Windows And Tires?

5. Weird Noise

Each automobile is unique. Some noises are normal, while others are signs that trouble is brewing.

If you hear a whining sound from the engine when you’re steering, your car probably needs some power steering fluid. Similarly, you need brake fluid if your brake pedal hits the floor.

However, if your engine generates other strange noises, such as rattling, your car needs immediate attention.

And if you hear a clicking sound from one of your tires, check if the hubcap is loose. Check the tread to see if anything is in the rubber. But hearing a hissing noise indicates that your car hose is leaking.

Being aware of the type of sound can save a lot of time and money. This is because you will not be visiting a technician or paying if all your car need is some lubricant.


We hope by now you can diagnose your car at home. But if you need further help, you can check the internet. Sites like and do-it-yourself videos on Youtube can help you figure it out. But before you carry out any repairs on your car, discuss it with your mechanic.

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