Some drivers don’t worry at all about their vehicles and neglect taking them in for service. Here are six warning signs that it’s time to head on over and make an appointment.
Warning light is on. Vehicles have warning lights for everything from engine troubles to brakes to battery issues. They usually look like the system they’re warning you about (a tire for under or over inflation, an engine for engine problems, etc.). It’s telling you something. Have it checked out, especially a flashing Check Engine light.
Shaking or vibrations. Your vehicle should go smoothly down the road, but if you feel shakes where there once were none, something’s wrong. You might feel them in the steering wheel or through your seat. It could be a suspension, tire, or electrical problem (among other possibilities), so have it checked out, so you know what’s going on.
Burning smell or smoke. If you smell something like oil burning or see smoke coming out of your exhaust or from under the hood, don’t just hope it will go away. These can be signs of serious troubles that need attention.
Bad fuel economy. If you find you’re filling up more frequently, that’s not a good sign. Many vehicles now have computers that will give you a numerical reading of your fuel economy. If you notice a dip, you may have something as simple as underinflated tires or something as serious as a sticking brake caliper.
Puddles under your vehicle. Vehicles use fluids for such things as cooling, lubrication, steering, and stopping. If you see them underneath your vehicle, it means they’re leaking, and that can have very unwelcome consequences.
Mushy or noisy brakes. When you first got your vehicle, the brakes were probably quiet and didn’t require a blacksmith’s touch on the pedal to stop. Not only does your safety depend on properly working brakes, but other drivers on the road are also counting on your brakes as well.
When your vehicle breaks down, it can be inconvenient, dangerous, expensive, and time-consuming. Your vehicle communicates with you every time you drive it. Drive, look, and listen for signs that are trying to forewarn you about impending problems.