2348 E. Broadway Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85282

10 Common Car Problems and Helpful Tips to Prevent Them

by | Jun 27, 2024

Owning a car brings convenience and freedom, but it also comes with the responsibility of maintenance. Regular upkeep can help prevent common car problems and save you from unexpected repairs and expenses.


Here, we’ll review some of the most common car problems and provide tips on how to prevent them. Then, we’ll explain how your trusted mechanic and favorite local auto repair shop can be your best friends when it comes to car care.


10 Common Car Problems and How to Keep Them From Happening to YOUR Vehicle

1. Engine Overheating

Common Causes: An overheated engine can leave you stranded by the side of the road. This isn’t a pleasant experience anywhere, but it’s especially uncomfortable here in the hot climate of Arizona. Common causes of engine overheating include low coolant levels, a malfunctioning thermostat, or a failed water pump.


Prevention Tips:

  •  Regularly check and maintain coolant levels
  • Inspect the radiator and hoses for leaks or damage
  • Ensure the thermostat is functioning correctly
  • Schedule routine maintenance to check the water pump and other cooling system components


2. Dead Car Battery

Common Causes: Although most vehicle batteries last between 3 and 5 years, they aren’t guaranteed to do so. This is especially true here in Arizona where temperature extremes can cause batteries to fail more quickly. Other common causes for dead batteries include battery age, leaving your vehicle’s lights on, or a failing alternator.


Prevention Tips:

  • Test your battery regularly and replace it every 3-5 years
  • Turn off all lights and electronics when the engine is off
  • Have your alternator checked during regular maintenance visits


3. Flat Tires

Common Causes: The condition of your vehicle’s tires has a significant impact on your driving safety. Regular tire inspections are a good way to detect tire issues before they become bigger problems. This is especially important before you head out on a road trip. Common causes for flat tires include punctures, underinflation, or worn-out tires.


Prevention Tips:

  • Regularly inspect your tires for wear and tear
  • Maintain proper tire pressure by checking it monthly
  • Rotate your tires every 5,000 – 7,000 miles to ensure even wear
  • Avoid driving over sharp objects and potholes


4. Brake Issues

Common Causes: Your tires aren’t the only components important for driving safety – your brakes play a significant role, too. Common causes of brake problems include worn-out brake pads, low brake fluid, or damaged rotors.


Prevention Tips:

  • Check brake pads and replace them if they are worn out
  • Regularly check and top off brake fluid
  • Listen for any unusual noises when braking and have them inspected immediately
  • Schedule regular brake inspections as part of your maintenance routine


5. Transmission Problems

Common Causes: Transmission issues can cause unusual noises and difficulty with shifting gears. Common causes include low transmission fluid, worn-out gears, or a faulty clutch.


Prevention Tips:

  • Regularly check and maintain transmission fluid levels
  • Pay attention to any changes in gear shifting or unusual noises
  • Have your transmission inspected and serviced according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule


6. Alternator Failure

Common Causes: Alternator failure often manifests as dimming lights or a whining noise coming from the engine. Possible causes include worn-out bearings, voltage regulator issues, or loose connections.


Prevention Tips:

  • Have your alternator tested during regular maintenance checks
  • Watch for warning signs such as dimming lights or a whining noise from the engine
  • Ensure all electrical connections are secure and free from corrosion


7. Exhaust System Issues

Common Causes: Exhaust system problems can lead to increased noise, decreased fuel efficiency, and harmful emissions. They are often caused by rust, leaks, or a damaged catalytic converter.


Prevention Tips:

  • Regularly inspect the exhaust system for signs of rust or damage
  • Pay attention to unusual exhaust noises or a decrease in fuel efficiency
  • Ensure your vehicle’s undercarriage is washed regularly, especially in areas with road salt


8. Faulty Spark Plugs

Common Causes: Faulty spark plugs can cause misfires, rough idling, and reduced fuel efficiency, leading to poor engine performance. Common causes include normal wear and tear or carbon build-up.


Prevention Tips:

  • Replace spark plugs according to your vehicle’s recommended schedule
  • Have your engine tuned up regularly to ensure optimal performance


9. Suspension Problems

Common Causes: Suspension issues can lead to a rough ride, poor handling, and uneven tire wear. Worn-out shocks and struts or damaged springs are typically the culprits.


Prevention Tips:

  • Inspect your suspension system regularly for signs of wear
  • Replace shocks and struts as needed to maintain a smooth ride
  • Avoid rough roads and heavy loads that can strain the suspension system


10. Fuel System Issues

Common Causes: Fuel system problems can lead to poor engine performance and reduced fuel efficiency. They can be caused by a clogged fuel filter, fuel pump failure, or dirty fuel injectors.


Prevention Tips:

  • Replace the fuel filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Use high-quality fuel to avoid contaminants
  • Have your fuel system cleaned periodically to maintain efficiency


Prevent Common Car Problems with Routine Maintenance at Our Tempe Auto Repair Shop

Did you know that regular maintenance and attention to detail can prevent most common car problems? Some of the prevention tips mentioned above are ones you can do yourself. Others require the knowledge, expertise, and tools of an experienced mechanic.


At Good Works Auto Repair, we are big believers in preventative maintenance. We’ve seen firsthand with our own vehicles how regular care and maintenance can make cars last longer, drive further, and be safer. Why not adopt healthy maintenance habits for your own vehicle so it not only runs better but keeps you and your passengers safe on the road?


Contact us today to schedule an appointment and let’s work together to prevent common car problems that could leave you in an uncomfortable or expensive situation!



And experience QUALITY auto service backed by a 5 year / 60,000 mile warranty! Call 480-894-0018 or

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Good Works Auto Repair in Tempe offers financing and allows you to make payments on your car repairs.

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Mon – Fri 7:30 – 5:30
Sat 7:30 – 5:30


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2348 E. Broadway Rd
Tempe, AZ 85282

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