Drivability refers to anything having do with how your vehicle is performing while on the road. From the fuel system to affected components and other systems like the Powertrain, ignition, distributor, exhaust system, brakes, tires, suspension etc… the list is endless. With the proper diagnostics, the problems are zeroed in on and solved before they become a major issue.
INTERMITTENT "CHECK ENGINE" LIGHT FLASHING
An intermittent "Check Engine" light is an indication that a service code has been stored in the vehicle's computer system. A common sensor that creates an intermittent "Check Engine" light is the Oxygen Sensor.
CAR STARTS HARD
Hard starting can be caused by a number of different items. First, inspect all vacuum lines on the engine and replace them if any cracks or brittleness is found. If your vehicle is carbureted, the choke system must be functioning properly before any sensor testing is performed. If it is operating correctly, the Coolant Temperature Sensor could be affecting how well the vehicle starts. On fuel injected vehicles, the sensors that can commonly be attributed to this problem include the Coolant Temperature sensor, Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) Sensor, or the Mass Air Flow Sensor.
CAR IDLES ROUGH
Rough idle is most commonly caused by a tune-up problem or vacuum leak due to deteriorated vacuum lines. Once these parts have been replaced or ruled out, the sensors that could be at fault include: Coolant Temperature Sensor, Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor, Air Charge Temperature Sensor, or Idle Speed Control Motor.
CAR IDLES ROUGH AND STALLS AT STOP SIGNS
Stalling at stop signs while the vehicle is in gear on carbureted vehicles could be caused by a failing Idle Speed Control Motor. On fuel injected vehicles, you should look for failure in the Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor, Mass Air Flow sensor, or restricted fuel injectors.
ENGINE SEEMS TO IDLE ERRATICALLY, WAY UP AND THEN WAY DOWN AGAIN
The items that may cause an erratic idle include the Throttle Position Sensor and the Idle Speed Control Motor.
ENGINE HESITATES ON ACCELERATION, BUT ONLY WHILE THE ENGINE IS WARMING UP
If you own a carbureted vehicle, first make sure the choke system is functioning properly. A hesitation on acceleration during the engine warm-up period may indicate a failure in one of the following areas: Coolant Temperature Sensor or Air Charge Temperature Sensor.
ENGINE HESITATES ON ACCELERATION AFTER IT IS FULLY WARMED UP
A hesitation or stumble during acceleration is most likely caused by the Throttle Position Sensor (whether the engine is carbureted or fuel injected).
POOR FUEL ECONOMY, AND OCCASIONALLY BLACK SMOKE OUT THE TAILPIPE
This situation is typically caused by an overly rich air/fuel mixture. This is commonly caused by a defective Oxygen Sensor, Coolant Temperature Sensor, Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor, or a bad Mass Air Flow Sensor.
POOR FUEL ECONOMY AND PERFORMANCE
Sluggish performance is often attributed to plugged or restricted injector nozzles.
ENGINE SEEMS TO "PING" OR "KNOCK" AFTER IT IS WARM
The first item to check is the base ignition timing. If that is correct, the electronic component to test, if your vehicle has one, is the Knock Sensor. An inoperable knock sensor will not send a signal to the computer to retard timing therefore pinging may result.
CAR SURGES AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS
Surging at highway speeds is commonly caused by a lean air/fuel mixture. This may be due to a failing Coolant Temperature Sensor, a defective Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor, or a Mass Air Flow Sensor problem.
ENGINE RUNS ON AFTER I TURN OFF THE KEY
Engine "run on" is commonly attributed to a high idle speed setting caused by a defective Idle Speed Control Motor, an incorrect adjustment, or excessively advanced ignition timing.
A "ROTTEN EGG" SMELL OUT OF THE TAILPIPE
Rotten egg smell out of the tailpipe is caused by an overly rich air/fuel mixture or by running leaded fuels in a vehicle equipped for unleaded. Overly rich fuel mixtures can be caused by a leaking fuel injector, a bad Oxygen Sensor, or defective Coolant Temperature Sensor.
CAR "BUCKS" AND OCCASIONALLY BACKFIRES
Other than a mechanical or ignition type of problem, bucking or backfiring can be caused by a defective Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor, a failing Mass Air Flow Sensor, or a bad Throttle Position Sensor.
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