Issues with the interior of your car can be as frustrating, but don’t rush to the auto repair centre. Many problems with your car can be fixed at home for a fraction of the price.
The heating has stopped working
Check the fan and refill the coolant
If your heater isn’t working, check that its fan still turns by listening for its whir. If not, try replacing its fuse in the cabin fuse box, which you’ll normally find behind a panel at the end of the dashboard or beneath the steering column.
- If the fan blows, but there’s no warm air, you are probably low on coolant. Find the coolant tank under the hood and top it up to the “Max” indicator line with a 50:50 mix of coolant and water (you can usually buy this premixed at auto stores). You may have to drive awhile for the coolant to make its way into the heating system.
The car radio won’t work
Replace the fuse
The most likely cause of a silent sound system is a blown fuse.
- Consult your owner’s manual to locate the fuse box. All the fuses are numbered and correspond to the numbers you’ll see in your manual and on the fuse box itself (or the box cover).
- Remove the fuse marked “radio” and install a fuse of the same colour (indicating its power rating) in its place. Many cars have spare fuses right in the box.
- If this doesn’t work, the cables connecting the radio to the car’s speakers may well have come loose and you’ll need professional help to remedy the problem.
My GPS has no signal
Fit an external antenna
Some heat-reflective or heated windshields can interfere with GPS signals. You can fix this problem by fitting an external antenna to the GPS unit and securing the wire along the top, or in one corner, of the windshield where there’s a gap in the heating mesh.
The plastic trim inside the car is scratched
Try a dab of petroleum jelly
Dangling keys or a loose seat-belt buckle can scratch the plastic molding of the car or the trim near the doors. The plastics used by different manufacturers vary greatly in composition, but scratches in hard plastics can sometimes be removed by applying a little petroleum jelly to the scratch with a fingertip, then buffing with a microfibre cloth.
To prevent scratches, don’t add your car key to your bunch of house keys. Keeping them separate will ensure your car is not inadvertently scratched by your other keys.
There’s a rip in the seat
Use a patch kit
A small tear in your upholstery should be repaired as soon as possible — it will only get worse. If your seats are covered in cloth, your only choices are an iron-on patch or a needle and thread.
Vinyl and leather seats, however, can be repaired almost invisibly using patch kits available from auto stores.