Spanish Language Blog

Car problems, en español Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in Spanish Vocabulary

¡Hola! ¿Cómo les va todo?

We’re having great and warm weather here in Bebedouro (Brazil) and, as it’s summetime, it rains a lot. I was driving around town on Sunday evening when it started to rain and I saw this car in the middle of the street. It had surely broken down and its owner was kind of desperate trying to fix it (who wouldn’t be, right?). I offered help but he told me his brother was coming to rescue him.

That motivated me to write this post with a little dialog about a guy, Pedro, whose car won’t start. The mechanic, Juan, arrives and takes a look at it. Check it out!

Pedro: ¿Cuál es el problema? [What’s the matter?]
Martín: No tengo la más mínima idea. No arranca. [I have no idea. It won’t start.]
Pedro: ¿Quieres que le eche un vistazo? [Do you want me to take a look at it?]
Juan: Sí, por favor. [Yes, please.]
Martín: Me parece que es un fallo en la inyección. ¿No habías tenido problemas antes? [It looks like a flaw in the fuel injection. Did you have any problems before?]
Juan: Que yo sepa, no. Todo funcionó bien hasta ahora. [Not that I’m aware of. Everything was working fine so far.]
Martín: Bueno, vamos a llevarlo al taller. [Well, let’s take it to the shop.]

OK, let’s take a look at some vocabulary points here.

Arrancar means to tear, pull, rip something out. Here it’s used when the car starts (or doesn’t). Here are some more examples with arrancar:

Hubo un forcejeo y le arrancó la pistola. [There was a struggle and he wrenched the pistol away from her.]
Le arrancó el bolso. [He snatched her bag.]
No hay quien le arranque una palabra. [No one can get a word out of him.]
Consiguió arrancarle una sonrisa. [She managed to get a smile out of him.]
Esta tradición arranca en el siglo XIV. [This tradition dates from the 14th century.]
De allí arrancan todas sus desgracias. [That’s where all his misfortunes stem from.]

Echar un vistazo
Echar un vistazo means to take a look. Echar is a very common Spanish verb and has many expressions like echar de menos (to miss), echar a perder (to ruin), echar la culpa (to blame), echar la bronca a uno (to tell someone off), echarse un trago (to have a drink) among others. In the dialog, it’s used in the subjunctive form, eche, because it follows the conjunction que after a verb of desire.

Here are some other useful sentences when your car breaks down!

Se me pinchó un neumático. [I’ve had a flat tire.]
Tráeme el gato, así levantamos el auto. [Bring the jack so we can lift the car.]
Tráeme el neumático de repuesto / la goma de auxilio. [Bring me the spare tire.]
El coche se rompió / se ha roto. [The car broke down.]
Llama un remolque. [Call a tow truck.]
Hay que remolcar el auto. [The car needs to be towed away.]
El motor se para. [The engine’s dying.]
El auto se calienta. [The car’s heating up.]
Hay que recargar la batería. [The battery needs to be recharged.]
Está perdiendo aceite. [It’s leaking oil.]

Well, I hope you don’t have any car problems soon. Nos vemos prontito.

Tags: ,
Keep learning Spanish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.