Can You Diagnose These Auto Problems?


By: Craig

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Chances are, the closest most people have gotten to the daily life of a mechanic is changing their own oil - and with a Jiffy Lube on every corner, even that is a big stretch for many people. But, you've found your way to this quiz, because we've promised you more than the basics of auto maintenance - you're looking to have your expert knowledge tested.

Since you're here, we'll assume that you're pretty darn knowledgeable about cars. You're the guy or gal who spends his weekends tweaking his or her car so that it runs just right. You're the person who keeps a project car on blocks in the garage. If this is the case, you know the answers to questions such as "what is the best viscosity oil to use in your car", "what important component under the hood will rotate an engine just enough to get it rotating on its own", and "what part of the engine ensures that high voltage moves through the coil of the ignition and reaches the spark plugs, making them fire in the right sequence"?

If you know the answers to these questions, and you think you know more, take this quiz to prove it. Let's get started!

Shock absorbers and springs are part of which system on a car?

The suspension system on your vehicle ensures that you have a smooth ride.


A 5-speed, 4-speed or 3-speed is referring to the vehicle's _________?

When someone talks about a 5-speed gearbox they are simply talking about the number of forward gears a car has. In most cases, a 5-speed would be a car with manual gearing and a 3-speed would have automatic gearing.


Your car is running hot but the radiator is not using water. What else should you check?

If your radiator is not leaking or using water but the car is overheating, it is best to check the thermostat next.


A light is blinking on the dashboard. It shows a round circle with brackets on either side. It has the letters ABS inside the circle. What should you check first?

When you see this light flashing orange on a dashboard, it means the ABS breaking system should be checked immediately.


What part of the engine ensures that high voltage moves through the coil of the ignition and reaches the spark plugs, making them fire in the right sequence?

The distributor is connected to the coil. It then sends the volts through high-tension leads to the spark plugs where it fires them in the correct sequence to make the engine run smoothly.


Never touch this type of bulb without gloves, as its lifespan will be severely shortened.

Touching a halogen bulb can cause the surface to become contaminated and this can lead to failure.


What important component under the hood will rotate an engine just enough to get it rotating on its own?

The primary role of the starter is to turn the engine over, causing it to fire and to run on its own.


What delivers a spark to the combustion chamber in the engine, causing it to fire?

The spark plugs are a crucial component in getting any engine to start. The spark they create causes combustion in the engine, which helps it to run.


If a car's steering has become more difficult to turn, what is the first thing that should be checked?

Should a car with power steering suddenly become difficult to steer, the first thing to check is the level of the power steering fluid.


If a car won't travel in a straight line and keeps pulling to one side, what should be checked?

If a car's front wheel alignment is out, even just a little bit, the car will not travel in a straight line. This is easily fixed at any tire center.


When a car develops transmission problems, what should be done first?

Any car with a transmission problem should be checked out immediately. The first thing to do is to see if the transmission fluid levels are correct. If they are, the problem might be more severe.


A blown fuse should be replaced with?

Always replace the blown fuse with one of the same amperage.


If you are replacing a fuel tank, what is the first thing that should be done?

When replacing a fuel tank, the first thing to do is drain all the fuel out of the current tank. The number one reason to do this is safety.


A spongy feeling in the brake pedal normally means?

If any air has worked its way into the brake system, the brake pedal will immediately feel spongy. The brakes will need to be bled to remedy the situation.


In engine parts, what does LSD stand for

The limited slip differential ensures that power is spread to the wheels of the vehicle equally, whether it is a 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle.


A light is flashing on a car's dashboard. It shows a thermometer with wavy lines underneath. What should you check first?

A temperature warning light indicates that the engine is overheating. The first thing to check in this regard is the water level in the radiator. If that seems fine, you might need to replace the thermostat.


When a car won't start, what is the most important thing to check first?

In most cases, the battery is the most likely cause of a car not starting. Either it has a dead cell or it is not taking a charge from the alternator because it is too old.


Which part of your engine converts the mechanical energy produced by the engine to electrical energy?

The alternator is an important part of your car's engine. It takes mechanical energy, converts it into electrical energy and then uses that to keep the battery charged, for example.


What should you do with the old oil left over from an oil change?

Oil can contaminate groundwater and should never be disposed of in the ground, a sewer or flushed away. Gas stations will have the old oil taken away and disposed of correctly.


Which is the gauge on your dashboard that measures the velocity of your vehicle

Want to know how fast you are going? Simply take a look at the speedometer on your dashboard. It will also have another dial showing you how many miles you have driven.


A car will not start but there is no problem with the battery or the alternator. What should be checked next?

A jammed starter motor can stop a car from starting. Sometimes a light tap with a hammer can unjam it, if you are lucky.


To what psi level should tires be inflated?

All vehicle manufacturers will put the suggested psi levels for tires on a plate that sits in the doorway of the driver's door of the vehicle. You would also be able to find the suggested tire pressure in the vehicle handbook.


This part is NOT involved in the ignition system of the engine

The catalytic converter deals with the emissions produced by the engine. It has nothing to do with starting a car.


A car's catalytic converter's overall condition is measure by _____?

The condition of a catalytic converter is measured through the quality of the oxygen that comes from it. This is measured by oxygen sensors placed at the front and back of the converter.


If you need to plug into an onboard computer to check a problem, where do you find the connection port?

All cars will have the connection port for their onboard computer in the cabin near the driver's right knee. This is required by law.


When checking the voltage reading on a battery, what should it read?

If a battery is in perfect working order, a volt meter should read 12.6 volts when connected to it.


A misfire in the engine can be caused by?

A clogged fuel filter means that the engine is not receiving fuel correctly, which can cause a misfire.


Which is the best viscosity engine oil to use on your car?

If in doubt, check your owner's manual. Remember, depending on the variance in temperatures between winter and summer where you live, the viscosity of oil may change depending on the season.


This part of your vehicle is crucial to starting as well as powering the lights and other systems.

The battery on your car is one of the most cruicial engine components. Not only does it ensure that the starter motor turns over, thus beginning the process that starts the engine, it also runs other systems, including the radio as well as lights, both internal and external.


If a vehicle is struggling to start, what is the first thing that should be checked?

A poor connection between the battery and one of the terminals is enough to stop a car from starting. Make sure the terminal fits on the battery properly and is tightened.


What is the role of shock absorbers in your car's suspension system?

The prime job of shock absorbers is to reduce the number of oscillations occurring in the suspension system at any given times. They are also called dampers.


When replacing the oil filter, the new one should be tightened in what manner?

Always tighten a new oil filter with just a 3/4 turn. This ensures the new o-ring will make contact and complete the seal.


If a car won't start and the battery is only a week old, what is the logical thing to check?

The alternator takes mechanical energy from the engine and converts it to electrical energy which then keeps the battery charged. If it is not doing this, the battery will quickly run down. Yes, even a brand new one!


Black smoke coming out of the exhaust of a car can indicate ______?

Black smoke coming out of the rear of the car from the exhaust pipe could mean many things. The first thing to check is whether the air filter is dirty or clogged.


A car is misfiring and the likely problem is the spark plugs. How should you check which one of them is faulty?

Although it might be tempting to find the culprit and just replace it, rather replace all the spark plugs at the same time. Remember, if one is starting to work incorrectly, the others might soon follow.


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