Our cars are more than just a means of transportation, they are vital to our daily lives. So, it’s very important that we take care of our cars to ensure that they are reliable and safe at all times. In addition to the dashboard signals that come on when the car has problems, we as owners and operators need to pay attention to how the car runs, how it handles, and the following signs that may indicate that services or repairs are needed:
The Engine Warning Light Comes On
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. There is no guesswork here, when the engine warning light comes on, you need to get to the mechanic right away. There is a chance it could be something simple and small to fix, but on the other hand, it could signal a much more serious problem.
Pulling, Vibration, and Noises When Braking
Unfortunately, the brakes on vehicles don’t last forever and because these are an important safety feature in the car, it’s not something you want to mess around with. If you notice pulling, vibration, or sounds as you brake then it’s time to get them inspected. It could be that you need to replace the pads, discs, or it may even be a problem with the suspension.
It’s always important to be mindful of any leaks your car may develop. There are a number of fluids that can end up leaking such as your brake fluid, engine oil, transmission oil, or your coolant. Each of these is important to the operation of your vehicle so, if you’re leaking any of them then you should really take your car into the shop or to the nearest car service areas.
There is one exception to the rule when it comes to leaking and that’s during the times when you use your air conditioning. Typically, there will be fresh water that drips once you park the vehicle. It will be on the passenger side near the front of the car. This is nothing to worry about.
Strange Sounds from the Engine
Just as you should be watching out for leaking fluids, you should also listen to your car. Pay close attention for any strange sounds that are new. If there is a problem with the engine you may hear a racing sound, shaking, or chugging. Meanwhile, if you hear a dragging sound it could have to do with the wheels.
When there is smoke coming from under the car’s hood, it’s a clear sign that you need to get to a mechanic ASAP. This is never normal and shouldn’t be ignored. In most cases, this points to a problem with the car over-heating. If you continue to drive it, you’re probably going to cause some rather massive damage to the engine.
It’s best to pull over as soon as it’s safe, turn the car off, and allow the engine to cool down. It may be necessary to call for a tow so that you don’t have to drive the vehicle.
Smoke can also come from your exhaust and have a burning smell to it. This typically points to an oil leak. Now, keep in mind that we are talking about excessive black smoke, not the small white colored smoke that you see when you start up your car in the cold winter months. That white smoke is normal and is just the water vapor from the vehicle’s exhaust system. Should you have excessive black smoke though, you want to use that same rule of pulling over and calling for help.
Trouble Steering Your Car
Another issue that can pop up has to do with the steering of your vehicle. If you find it is pulling to one side, is difficult to steer or keep straight, and seems to lose power steering, then head to your local mechanic right away. There are many reasons why this could be happening and it’s important to have a mechanic properly diagnose the issue.
In addition to these previously mentioned major signs of car problems, there are many other indicators that you should be mindful of in regards to your car needing to be checked out. Some of these smaller signs could be that your air conditioner isn’t blowing cold air, your electric windows don’t go up or down, your radio isn’t working, or service lights don’t go off on your dashboard even after the issue has been addressed.
Don’t Wait or Take Chances
When it comes to issues with your car, it’s always best to get it looked at immediately. The longer you wait, the more damage could be done to your car. Additionally, this increased damage will almost certainly mean an increase in your service bill.
Phil has been a partner in several local Arizona auto glass businesses for more than 10 years, handling business strategy, online and offline marketing, and partnerships. Before working with Pinnacle Auto Glass, he worked for a handful of small software and marketing companies in the greater Phoenix metro area. He enjoys keeping up with the rapid changes in the online local business world and checking out the interesting sights around Arizona. He’s thought about retirement and even tried to retire once or twice so far, but he got bored right away and dove right back into the local auto glass world!