The car you drive is your key to freedom. When you are on the road and you are going anywhere you want to be, nothing can stop you. You are not bound by train timetables, you don’t have to wait in line for your flight to open, and you don’t have to wait for other passengers to hurry up and get to their seats so that you’re not delayed. You can get behind the wheel and go where you want to go with nobody to stop you. The problem is that you are also then responsible for your car, so unlike the train or the plane when it breaks down it’s up to you to notice something is going wrong.
Your car may need to be serviced from time to time, and to avoid a big surprise breakdown in the middle of the highway that comes with expensive repairs and a tow fee, it’s important to understand which warning signs will tell you that your car needs to be serviced by a qualified mechanic. You may be familiar with when to change the fluid in your windscreen wipers, or when to top up the oil, but do you know what to do in terms of coilovers? Do you understand what you need to do next when the belt on the engine has gone? If not, here are ten warning signs that your car is in need of some help.
- Your engine warning light has come on. Your dashboard is filled with different lights and buttons, and when that engine warning light pops on it’s a sure sign something is going on, your car is trying to tell you loud and clear! Car warning lights are always programmed to light when there is an issue with the area of the car that it’s been monitoring. So for example, there are lights for battery issues, lamps out, oil pressure issues, a reduced power warning and more. The one thing you can never ignore is the engine light and should this be showing it’s vital that you get your car to a mechanic as soon as you can.
- Can you hear that noise? Your car should be making a gentle hum as you drive it down the road. If it’s not humming and is instead grinding, there is a problem, and you need to get on top of it as soon as possible. Unusual noises can be heard because of the fan belt being broken, the braking system going wrong or there not being enough power steering fluid. From the highly pitched squeals that you will hear when the fan belt is worn, or the squealing while you are driving as a sign that your tires need to be rebalanced, get to know the noises of your car so you know what is normal and what is not.
- It’s getting smoky out there. While you are driving you should be able to go down the road and know that your car is in good condition. If you notice black smoke coming from the exhaust, you might be leaking oil. There could also be a load of carbon buildup in the system. If the smoke is coming from under the bonnet of the car, the radiator may be frying out. Any vibrations that are causing the smoke emissions could be because of the tyres being unbalanced and therefore screeching along the road.
- Speaking of getting shaky. Strange vibrations? Is the car juddering as you drive? It’s best not to get up to those high mph on the motorway if the car is shaking around. Instead, you need to take your car straight to a mechanic so they can make sure that your car is not going to crash on the road.
- The brakes now need heavy pressure. You shouldn’t have to slam the brakes down to get the car to stop. In fact, you should be able just to gently push on the brakes for the car to slow down to a stop. If the brakes aren’t working properly and you have to slam the pedal to the metal, then you need to get them checked. Any changes in your brakes should show you that you need to take your car to a garage because this will ensure your safety.
- You can’t get it going. Stalling your engine is no fun, especially when you are in traffic. If he keeps stalling the car, especially sudden stalling even when you’re in the right gear, there could be a fault with your engine. Clogs up fuel filters or faulty spark plugs can cause this to happen, and it’s a matter of urgency for you to find a good garage.
- Your ignition just isn’t working. If you have to keep turning the ignition to get the car running, then you need to get the car checked. It shouldn’t have to cough and splutter to get you going. Ignition faults can be caused by a range of issues including a faulty start motor and even a dying battery. This is something that a mechanic can help you with.
- The gears are grinding. Car wear and tear happens overtime, but if your car is relatively new and you are away from your usual routine checks, then it might be a good idea to schedule an emergency check-up. Just with anything, your car can wear down from over useful
- Your vehicle keeps pulling to one side. Problems with steering are pretty common, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with them all the time. Instead of worrying about something being wrong with your car steering, you need to get it checked and aligned properly so that your car can be safe on the road. If you fight but your steering wheel is stiff, you may need to get power steering fluid topped up.
Your car is supposed to be safe, and this is how you do it – by knowing what’s working with your car and what isn’t.