We all love our cars (or dream of owning cars we love) and appreciate getting from A to B quickly and easily with them. However, our vehicles won’t last forever, and even newer models can start having problems. Sometimes you’ll notice signs that your four wheels are having some issues.
When this happens, it may be time to take the car to an auto shop. If the issues are many and time-consuming to repair, you may need to utilize a loaner vehicle if available or hire a car for a time. Head online to check out your nearest airport or city center for options, such as by inputting “rent a car LAX” or “hire a car Boston.”
It’s a better investment to spend money on a hire car for a few days or week or two while your own vehicle gets looked after than to ignore problems for months at a time and then suddenly find yourself with a car that has gone kaput. Read on for some of the most common signs that you need to head to an auto shop ASAP.
Lit Up Dashboard Warning Lights
Many of us are so busy thinking about our day, problems we’re having, or what we’re about to go and do that we can miss noticing the warning lights on our car’s dashboard for days, weeks, or even months if we’re not careful. However, do try to pay attention to these displays as they’re there to alert you to vehicle problems early on so you can get them addressed before they turn into a much bigger deal.
If you spot lit-up lights, go through your vehicle’s instruction manual or other data to see what the symbol refers to. If you haven’t kept the original paperwork that came with the car, you should be able to find what you need on the manufacturer’s website.
Some lights are more serious than others, and you can have solid versus flashing signals to understand, too, so it’s vital to know what you’re looking at and what might be going on. The documents you read might give you an idea of the recommended action but either way, head to a mechanic without haste to let them diagnose and remedy the issue.
All vehicles make some noise when they’re running, although electric ones and many other modern products are very quiet these days and often “switch off” when you stop at lights and the like. It’s time to be alarmed, though, if you suddenly notice your car’s engine making much louder noises than usual or making odd sounds that you’ve never heard before.
Try to notice when the noises occur. For example, is it when you start the car, turn it off, or shift gears? Are there many revving sounds, or is it more clicking or whirring, knocking or pinging, or other things you’re hearing? Strange noises can be due to many factors, including a faulty transmission, starter, radiator, or hose.
Have you been frustrated lately with the state of your driveway or garage because your car keeps leaving oil or other stains on the surface? If so, there may be a leak in your vehicle that you need to get addressed quickly. With so many fluids in a car to make it run, multiple options could leak.
Often it’s an oil leak problem, or it can be to do with air-conditioning. If you notice excessive leaks on the pavement, check fluid levels in your vehicle before driving it further to see if they’re at their recommended levels or not. You can cause much more damage if you drive when there’s no oil left, for instance.
Shaking and Vibrations
All vehicles make some movements you can feel inside the car while driving or riding as a passenger, which is perfectly normal. However, if you’re starting to feel like you’re on a carnival ride these days because of all the shaking and vibrations happening, it’s probably time to take your four wheels to a mechanic.
Before you do, try to pick up on when the issues start or when they’re most noticeable as you drive around. Report this information to the auto technicians, so it’s quicker and easier for them to diagnose the trouble. Problems may be stemming from the car’s spark plugs, fuel system, sensors, or brakes (including an anti-lock braking system). Sometimes shakes and vibrations occur from tire, wheel, or suspension issues, too.
Some other signs to look out for that indicate your car needs special attention include unresponsive or sensitive brakes, strange smells, and fuel economy that seems to keep dropping from the advertised level.
Cars should work well for years, but they need looking after to run their best. Ignore signs of problems at your peril.