Advice to Keep your Car Going!

Total Automotive is committed to bringing you honest, straightforward advice about automotive maintenance.  We feel the best type of customer is an informed customer. 

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Maintenance Advice

For additional auto advice please visit

National Car Care Council

Heading Off Problems

The more you know about your vehicle, the more likely you'll be able to head off repair problems. 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.

Looks Like Trouble
Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle may not mean much. But wet spots deserve attention; check puddles immediately.

You can identify fluids by their color and consistency:

Smells Like Trouble
Some problems are under your nose. You can detect them by their odor:

Sounds Like Trouble
Squeaks, squeals, rattles, rumbles, and other sounds provide valuable clues about problems and maintenance needs. Here are some common noises and what they mean:

Squeal - A shrill, sharp noise, usually related to engine speed:

Click - A slight sharp noise, related to either engine speed or vehicle speed:

Screech - A high-pitched, piercing metallic sound; usually occurs while the vehicle is in motion:

Rumble - a low-pitched rhythmic sound.

Ping - A high-pitched metallic tapping sound, related to engine speed:

Heavy Knock - A rhythmic pounding sound:

Clunk - A random thumping sound:

Feels Like Trouble
Difficult handling, a rough ride, vibration and poor performance are symptoms you can feel. They almost always indicate a problem.


Ride and Handling

Brake problems have several symptoms. Schedule diagnosis and repair if:

The following symptoms indicate engine trouble. Get a diagnosis and schedule the repair.

Poor transmission performance may come from actual component failure or a simple disconnected hose or plugged filter. Make sure the technician checks the simple items first; transmission repairs normally are expensive. Some of the most common symptoms of transmission problems are:

Slippage during acceleration. The engine speeds up, but the vehicle does not respond.

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5416 Quesada Rd.
Riverdale Park, MD 20737

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