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What's Wrong With My Car?

We've all had one of those moments of confusion when an issue arises with our cars. What does this light mean? Why won't my car start? Well, Jardine Motors has pieced together a simple guide to help answer some of these questions. If you've had a warning light appear on your car dashboard, view our guide of car warning lights.

Common Faults


Key won't turn

If you're sure that the key is the right one for the car (we have to ask!), then it could be that the key has worn out. If you have a spare, try that. If not, you'll have to go to a main dealer and get them to look at it for you.

On the other hand, what can happen is that if you park with the wheels turned to one side and take the key out, there is too much pressure put on the steering lock to allow the key to turn. To fix this, you need to force the steering wheel in one direction, then in the other and try and turn the key at the same time.

This should relieve any built up pressure, and allow your key to turn.


Engine won't start

When turning the key you may hear nothing at all, a strange clicking sound, or even a series of clicks. Sometimes you'll hear the sound of the engine cranking, but going slower than usual.

Common causes for this problem is a weak or dead battery or dirty or corroded connections that lead to the battery.If the battery is dead, you will be able to tell by turning your interior lights on, then trying to start the car. If the light dims or becomes so when you turn the key to start the engine, then your battery is dead and you will need to jump-start it, or recharge the battery (if you are at home), before taking it to a garage for testing. If you've just left the lights on and your battery has drained, you will need to drive around to recharge the battery, but you shouldn't need to get professional advice.

If the interior light is bright when you turn it on and doesn't change or dim when you turn the key, it's likely that your battery is ok.

If this happens, then you may have a problem with the ignition switch or connecting wiring or there could be a problem with your starter motor. If you think it could be any of these things you should get the opinion of a professional by speaking to our Jardine Motors service team.


Car does not move although in gear

If you drive a car with a manual transmission, when you release the clutch the car should move. If the engine races but the car does not move at all or slowly when in gear, it might be time to replace the clutch. Some cars will need a clutch adjustment but it might be that the friction surface of the clutch is burnt and if so it will need to be replaced.

My front wheel vibrates when I drive over 50mph

This is usually caused by a front wheel being out of balance. If you can feel the vibration only in the seat, it's more than likely a rear wheel. Even so, it's a good idea to have all 4 wheels balanced at the same time and you will probably be quite surprised at the difference that it will make to the way the car drives.

My car drifts when I let go of the steering wheel

First thing you need to do is check the tyre pressure on all your tyres then drive it again. If your car drifts to the right in the right lane and to the left in the left lane, then it's probably normal as many roads rise in the middle to stop water collecting in them when it rains.

You should have the wheel alignment checked too, and your vehicle technician should check for worn or bent front end parts that can cause drift and let you know if there are any other safety concerns.


When I drive over a speed bump, my car bounces before settling again

This is usually down to work or damaged shock absorbers or struts. It can happen slowly over a long period of time and it can be difficult to notice that there has been any change - but by replacing them you will see a real difference in the driving quality of your car.


There is fluid on the floor under my car

If you're not sure what kind of fluid your car is losing, take a piece of white cardboard and place it under the vehicle overnight. In the morning, you'll be able to tell (or at least your mechanic will) what is leaking by the colour of it. Common fluids are:

  • Amber or light yellow - brake fluid
  • Clear - power steering fluid or water from the air con
  • Light or dark brown - oil
  • Bright green - radiator cooler

Although these can differ depending on where your service is carried out and what brands they use. If your car is leaking, always consult a technician to determine whether it will impact the safety of your car.


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Take a look at our YouTube channel, where you’ll find everything from car reviews to expert advice on everything happening at Jardine.


Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated June 2021.