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Drive Without Being Driven Crazy

[whitespace] Nose to the Wheels

You can detect many common vehicle problems by using your senses: eyeballing the area around your vehicle, listening for strange noises, sensing a difference in the way your vehicle handles, or even noticing unusual odors. Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle may not mean much. But as with the bed, wet spots deserve attention; check puddles immediately.

Car trouble doesn't always mean major repairs. Here are some common causes of trouble and techniques to help you and your technician find and fix problems:

Battery--Corroded or loose battery terminals can make the battery appear dead or defective. Your technician should clean the terminals and test battery function before replacing the battery.

Starter--What appears to be a defective starter actually may be a dead battery or poor connection. Ask your technician to check all connections and test the battery before repairing the starter.

Muffler--a loud rumbling noise under your vehicle indicates a need for a new muffler or exhaust pipe.

Brakes--A mushy or grinding brake pedal and/or an ear-piercing shriek are trusty indicators that your only source of stopping is going out.

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From the March 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro.

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