Five Signs Your Car Needs Maintenance
Car ownership offers you incredible freedom and the ability to go anywhere at any given time, but it also takes up both time and money.
More than anything, regular maintenance is the most essential way to get the most out of your vehicle. If you take care of your car, it will be better equipped to take care of you. By keeping up with your vehicle’s regular maintenance, you will ensure your drives will be safe, and you can extend the lifetime of your car, saving you money and future trips to the dealer.
But most car owners aren’t expert mechanics, so for the relatively inexperienced car owner, knowing when your vehicle needs work can be hard to figure out. However, there are a few indicators that can tell you that it’s time to visit your nearby auto shop. Here are five signs that your car might be in need of some maintenance.
Many drivers tend to ignore the check engine light. They notice that it’ll turn on for a few weeks at a time, and then suddenly go away, so they’ll shrug and assume it was just a false alarm. After all, “check engine” is pretty vague advice, and if your car feels like it is running smoothly otherwise, why spend the money to take it to a mechanic?
These drivers would be greatly mistaken. Not only are they risking more serious problems in the future by keeping that car with a check engine light on the road, but they’re also costing themselves potentially more money in the long run. The most common cause of this warning light is a faulty O2 sensor, which reduces your gas-mileage by nearly 40%. And that’s assuming that the issue isn’t even more serious.
There are other warning lights in your car, and they all should be taken seriously as well. Thankfully, those other lights are usually pretty indicative of the issue causing the warning. By referring to your owner’s manual, you can determine if your brakes are worn, if there is a leak in your tires, or any other problem that your car might encounter.
The key, as always, is to pay attention to any and all warning lights in your car. If you see any light, take your vehicle in right away. The sooner you catch any issues, the longer your car can keep running.
A sure sign that something has gone wrong with your car would be the existence of a leak. If you come to your parking spot to find a small puddle under your car, you should take it in as soon as possible.
Bright green liquid indicates that you’re losing coolant, while dark brown or red liquids could be engine oil, brake fluid, or transmission oil, all of which are crucial to keeping your engine lubricated to avoid wear and tear.
Power steering fluid, or even gasoline, could also find itself leaking from your vehicle. All of these represent maintenance issues that should be resolved immediately.
Driving, especially on bumpy roads, can cause general vibrations within your vehicle. This is to be expected. But sometimes, your car might start vibrating when it otherwise shouldn’t. You may be on a smooth road, traveling at a sensible speed, but all of a sudden you start feeling strange vibrations.
What could this indicate? Well, it could actually be one of several potential issues. Worn or unbalanced tires, a failing universal joint, or a flat tire could all be to blame. Before the condition worsens, and actively threatens your safety, you should get your car looked at by a professional.
It should go without saying that cars and smoke do not go together. As the old saying goes, when there’s smoke, there’s fire, and you do not want anything to do with fire near your vehicle.
Generally, smoke under your hood is the sign that your car is overheating, either because it has run out of coolant (possibly due to a leak) or because of some additional issue with the engine. An overheating engine can, when left unchecked, lead to permanent damage to your vehicle, so it’s important to address any smoke immediately.
Even the most high-tech, smooth-running brand-new cars will make a variety of sounds and noises while you’re driving. Most of them are pretty familiar. The burst of the starter, the squeals of your tires on a tight turn, the rumble of the engine are all normal and to be expected.
When you encounter grinding, squealing, dragging or droning, however, you may need to get your car looked at. This could be an issue with brakes or a problem with your wheel bearing.