It's important to keep your car in tip-top condition. Reliable transportation is one of the most important parts of modern life. When your car breaks down, it's impossible to accomplish everything on your list of everyday chores. Many people enjoy working on their own cars, which is useful for everyday maintenance. But even with regular maintenance, it's inevitable that your car will eventually have problems. So how can a driver tell their car might be nearing a breakdown? Here are a few warning signs that merit a trip to your local certified auto repair mechanic as soon as possible:
Warning Lights on the Console
The most obvious indication of a problem is a warning light on the dashboard. Modern cars have a built-in computer on the engine to keep it tuned and in peak running condition. The engine also contains many sensors to make sure it is running properly. If the sensors detect a problem, the computer lets drivers know with a warning light on the console. The warning lights give drivers a good first sign that something is wrong with their vehicle. Warning lights differ from car to car. It is important to check the owner's manual and understand what each light means.
Squealing or Grinding When Stopping
Brakes normally make a slight squealing sound occasionally. But when the squealing becomes constant, it could mean a problem with the brake pads or rotors. This may mean the car could use a brake repair job. A constant grinding noise, rather than just when you apply the brakes, could mean that the wheel bearings need to be replaced by a certified auto repair shop. It could also mean that the Constant Velocity (CV) joints are failing, and need a replacement.
Spots Under the Vehicle
It is important to regularly check your vehicle's fluid levels. It's also smart to make a visual check underneath your car to look for evidence of leaks. Wet spots on the ground can indicate problems with gaskets, hoses, or other fittings or connectors. The color of the spot can help determine the kind of leakage, and if it needs a certified auto repair shop to take a look.
Brown or Amber: This is Engine oil. Oil leaks may indicate cracked or worn gaskets, or an overfill of engine oil.
Red: Transmission fluid (usually very oily looking). A transmission fluid leak could mean there is an issue somewhere in the transmission line
Orange, Green, or Yellow: This is usually coolant. The difference between this and other fluids is that it appears watery, not oily. A leak of coolant could be just an overfill of the water reservoir. It could also indicate a need for a leaky radiator repair, or a replacement of a hose or other connector.
Clear: This is usually water, which forms as condensation from an air conditioning unit. It is normal for cars to drip water as a result of condensation.
If your car's steering seems to shake more than it does normally, it could indicate a serious problem with the wheels or tires. You might need a wheel alignment or balancing service by a certified auto repair technician. If the car seems to wobble from side to side, this may mean that the front steering components are excessively worn. This could lead to a very dangerous situation if it is not taken care of right away.
Slow Starting Vehicles
When you turn the ignition key, the engine should only take a few cranks to start up. Unless it is cold outside, a slow, sluggish start could indicate problems with your fuel pump or ignition system. If the engine seems to crank slowly when starting, it could be due to a battery problem. Be careful not to press the accelerator too much when starting the car, if it all. If you smell gasoline, that means the engine is flooded. GIve the engine a few minutes for the fuel to evaporate before trying again.
A Certified Auto Repair Technician Will Know for Sure
While these are some of the major indicators, there are many other signs that your vehicle needs attention. A certified auto repair technician can connect a diagnostic unit to the car's computer to find out exactly how well it's running, and identify potential problems before they become serious.
When it comes to keeping your car maintained, it's always better to be sure than to take chances that can leave you stranded by the side of the road.