Top 7 Common Car Problems and Issues

There are quite a few ways to diagnose car problems. You can use on-board diagnostic tools, like scanners, but make sure to read a few OBD2 scanner reviews first. On the other hand, you can do simpler things, such as keeping your ears open for weird noises.

One of the ways to make sure you’re covered no matter what happens is to purchase an extended warranty, but before you do so, try to check a few offers and read a couple of reviews so you can choose wisely and save yourself from expensive repairs.

If you want to educate yourself on the most common car problems and issues, then you are in the right place! In this article, you will find a list of the most common car problems, ranging from showing warning lights, flat tires, a sputtering engine, and squeaking brakes to worn brake pedals, a leaking radiator, and a cracked windscreen. Check it out!

Oil Warning Light

If your car’s oil warning light starts to glow when driving, it means that the engine could be damaged. The problem could be a failed oil pressure sensor, which warns you about the low oil level in the engine. The most common cause for this is a leaking oil filter or gasket. You should always check whether the leak is coming from the oil filter or gasket before getting an oil change. If the leak persists, it may be time to replace the engine.

Excessive Noise

When driving, you should listen closely to excessive noise from your car’s engine, transmission, brakes, power steering system, windscreen wipers, and exhaust system. All of these systems can start making noises if they are worn out or damaged. 

A rattling sound from the engine usually indicates worn piston rings or seals. Here are the most common noise-related issues:

  • Squeaking brakes can mean that your brake pads are worn out;
  • A sputtering engine could mean that your spark plugs are broken
  • Excessive windscreen wipers noise can be a sign of broken wiper blades;
  • A squeaking power steering system means that your power steering fluid is too dirty;
  • Exhaust system rattling or groaning can mean that there is dirt in your exhaust pipe, preventing the exhaust system from acting properly.


If your car doesn’t start, then it could be that the ignition has failed or that you don’t have enough fuel in the tank to fire up your vehicle. If your car starts but won’t stay running, you should check whether the battery is low on charge or whether the alternator isn’t working properly. You can always use a multimeter to check how much charge your battery has left and whether the alternator is working correctly. 

Engine Performance Issues

If you notice that your vehicle has an unusually poor performance, then it could be that one of the engine components needs replacement or repair. For example, if your car suddenly seems to consume more fuel than usual, it may be because there is too much air entering into the engine. It can happen if your air filter is clogged or if there is a crack somewhere in the air intake system. 

If your engine seems to be revving too high when you are taking off at lower speeds, then it probably means that your car needs new spark plugs and possibly new plug wires as well. If your vehicle fails to climb hills when it used to do so before, then it could mean that your fuel pressure regulator is malfunctioning.

Excessive Windscreen Wiper Noise

If you hear excessive windscreen wiper noise when you are adjusting them, then it usually means that your blade arms need cleaning or that there is dirt in your beam mechanism, which you need to remove from there. If you hear excessive windscreen wiper noise while driving, it sounds like there is something loose inside the blades. In this case, you should take your car for inspection as soon as possible to see what needs fixing. If you hear excessive windscreen wiper noise when they are turned off, then probably some of the parts are damaged and need replacing.

Squeaking Brakes

Have you noticed that your brakes squeak? That’s usually a sign of worn brake pads. Most people think that squeaking brakes are a sign of needing new ones, but sometimes they just need cleaning or replacing their brake fluid. 

Try this: 

  • Stop at a safe place where you can pull over and turn off the engine;
  • Set the parking brake and leave the handbrake engaged so that the vehicle doesn’t roll back when someone opens the door;
  • Now try using each pedal individually and listen for squeaking sounds from each of them. 

Some cars have different brake pad designs on both front wheels, which means that one of them has more friction material than the other one, so they might squeak differently when applying them separately. If both wheels seem to have worn brake pads, then you should buy new ones and replace them right away. Otherwise, you will risk damaging your disc rotors right away.

Leaking Radiator

The most common cause for a leaking radiator is a damaged radiator tank, causing your car to overheat. To check whether your radiator is leaking or not, you should first let your engine cool down completely and then start it up. Wait for two minutes to see whether the temperature gauge goes up quickly or not. If it does, then your radiator is leaking. You can always ask for assistance from a professional mechanic to help you fix the problem. You can also do it yourself if you know how and save some money in the process. 

Final Note

As much as we love our cars, there are some issues that often drive us crazy, especially if we bought a used car. Things like lower engine performance, leaking radiator, or squeaking brakes not only can make driving your car a nightmare. They can also make it extremely dangerous!

That is why checking them regularly is essential. Make sure you have a trustworthy mechanic around that will always tell you what is wrong with your car. Remember that even if an issue seems or sounds minor, it can often lead to much more severe problems. 

Photo by Arseny Togulev on Unsplash