Some people ignore various car issues in order to postpone the repair (and therefore the cost of the repair) for later on, thus giving their household budget a much-needed lifeline. What they overlook, however, is that ignoring the problem doesn’t really buy you time. Instead, it makes things worse and makes the eventual repair far more expensive than it originally would have been. The key to actually saving money on car repairs is reacting to the first sign of trouble. With that in mind, here are the top seven signs that your car needs a visit to an auto shop.
- Engine warning light
There’s no sign that is more obvious than your car itself telling you that there’s something wrong. Your dashboard is there to provide you with crucial information. A light on the dashboard may mean that your lamp is out, that you have pressure issues, that your battery is slowly dying, or that you have low oil levels. Seeing as how you’re supposed to take a glance at your warning light every now and then, ignoring this is pretty hard. Now, remember, even if you recognize the light – a warning is not diagnostic.
- Strange noises
If your car starts making strange noises, this is a sign that you definitely shouldn’t ignore. Now, you might have some idea what’s wrong with it, but chances are that you’ll need a professional to take a look into it. According to specialists behind One Stop Suzi Shop, the type of noise may be quite indicative of the problem in question. For instance, a highly pitched squeal is indicative of a loose or worn-out fan belt. Squealing while driving is a sign that you need to rebalance your car tires. Then again, if the squealing is heard when you push the brakes, the culprit is more than obvious.
- Smoke emissions
Where there’s smoke, there’s always fire, and when you see an emission of smoke coming from your car, this is definitely a cause for concern. This smoke can come either from the exhaust or under the bonnet of your car. Naturally, the latter is more alarming but seeing black smoke from the exhaust may be quite worrisome, as well. It may indicate that you have an oil leak or a blockage somewhere in the system.
- Strange vibrations
If you notice strange vibrations while driving your car, chances are that something’s either loose, malfunctioning or about to be one of these two things. One reason for this vibration is a defective tire or a tire that is out of balance. This is a problem with a pretty inexpensive fix. On the other hand, there are scenarios in which you’ll be dealing with a bent wheel or a worn drivelling U-joint. In this case, fixing the problem will be somewhat more expensive and complex. Either way, it’s a matter that requires your immediate attention.
- Problems with the ignition
A fully-functioning vehicle should start right away. However, if you have a problem with the ignition, you’re risking a scenario where it may take several attempts to start the car. Aside from this, these ignition attempts may be accompanied by car-coughing. Now, while this may sound like a minor inconvenience, the truth is that you never know when the problem is actually going to escalate. This is why it’s important to check your vehicle as soon as possible, especially if you plan to go on a road trip.
- Steering problems
By default, your steering wheel and your car should hold a direction. However, if your steering wheel is pulling to one side, even in a scenario in which you should be in a neutral position, chances are that there’s something wrong. The most common culprits are a broken steering rack mount or a worn ball joint. Still, this is an assessment that a layman mechanic won’t be able to tell on your own. So, a quick trip to an auto shop seems like the best solution. The problem may also be connected to your tires.
- Power decrease
Situations in which you accelerate are the ones in which you’re supposed to experience the full strength of your vehicle’s horsepower. So, what if this seems to be underwhelming as of late or noticeably weaker than before? Another symptom that may have the same cause is the fact that your car no longer gets as far on the full tank. This is a point of concern that should be addressed right away.
At the end of the day, as a primary driver, you’re the one who knows your car the best. There’s a reason we didn’t mention this before, but every car has a certain “feel” to it. So, if anything seems off, it might be a good idea to take the vehicle to a mechanic just to make sure everything’s right and tight. You need to know how your car behaves under regular conditions, and they pay attention to any irregularity. Some of these regularities are hard to notice, and others are near-impossible to miss. Either way, both you and your car will need some help.