Even the toughest car is hiding a soft interior. Vehicles need to be properly taken care of so they can be a source of reliable transportation. Routine maintenance comes in many forms, but how can you know what to fix if you don’t know the warning signs?
That’s why we’ve compiled a short list of signs to watch out for in your car. Like most things, the red flags will be there if you know where to look. The key to preventing accidents and keeping your car in the best possible condition is to engage in preventative maintenance on a regular basis. And when you go for an extended period of time without checking up on your car, major issues can pop up.
6 Signs Your Engine Needs Oil Change or Maintenance
Sometimes, modern vehicles can encounter serious roadblocks that prevent them from operating at a high level. This can be through problems with general automotive repairs, like brakes or air filters. Addressing these is a common service of automotive shops. But other problems are more serious, like engine failure or oil leaks. That’s when being alert and knowledgeable about how your car is running can be useful. (Although, you should always be alert when it comes to your car)
Luckily, there are visible signs your car will send you to indicate that something isn’t working the way it should. Below are some common types of signs often seen in cars that are a signal to bring your vehicle into an auto repair shop.
1. Check Engine Light
If your car’s dashboard shows any of these warning lights, then you need to get your vehicle checked out immediately:
Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL)
You probably know this as the “check engine light,” but whatever you call it, this is not a good sign. MILs act as warning signs of a critical malfunction. More specifically, this notifies drivers about any issue detected in the entire engine or emissions control system. You can learn more about this light in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Never ignore this light. It’s your vehicle trying to let you know that something is not working the way it should. If the MIL is lit up, we recommend that you take your car to an auto shop. immediately.
Service Engine Soon Light (SES)
The “Service Engine Light” indicates that you are in need of an oil change. This indicator is based on the number of miles driven since the last time you had an oil change. This light is helpful for maintaining your car and making sure the oil levels are where they need to be.
Low Fuel Level Warning Light
As you could probably guess based on the name, the low fuel level warning light means your car is low on fuel. This light typically indicates that you have about a gallon of fuel left. So while you don’t need to visit the auto shop, you will want to fill up as soon as you can.
2. Rattle When Turning Steering Wheel
A rattling noise when turning the steering wheel means you will want to take your car to an auto service center. There are many potential causes of this rattling noise, including a bad power steering rack, bad struts and shocks, and lack of lubrication due to power steering fluid leaks.
While this can sometimes be an easy fix, other times parts will need to be replaced in order to solve the problem.
3. Smoke Coming Out of Tailpipe
Smoke coming out of the tailpipe is one of the clearest signs of auto issues. If the smoke exiting your vehicle’s tailpipe is black, it may mean you have a dirty engine air filter. You will want to take your vehicle into an auto shop to have the engine air filter changed as soon as possible, so it does not lead to more expensive repairs.
If the smoke is white, it could mean a number of serious auto issues. It most likely means a blown head gasket, but could also result from a larger problem like an engine block. With engine problems, you may need a car engine rebuild or a new engine entirely.
4. Noisy Brakes
If your vehicle brakes begin making a loud grinding noise, you likely have a worn brake pad. Depending on the driving conditions you regularly experience, some people will experience faster wear on their brakes. You will want to have the brake pad replaced to get rid of the noise and ensure that your brakes are in good working order.
A squeaking noise results from dirty brakes or a lack of lubrication on the brake components. Since brakes are a critical component of your car, you will want to visit an auto shop as soon as possible.
5. Brake Fluid Smells Bad
Like keeping up with oil levels, keeping up with your brake fluid is very important. If you experience a burning smell, that may be a sign of serious brake trouble. If you experience a burning brake smell, you should pull over and let them cool. Then, you should call an expert to help you fix the brakes and ensure that they are still reliable.
6. Steering Wheel Shakes
Your steering wheel shaking may be caused by out-of-balance tires, incorrectly installed brake rotors, or another braking system problem. It could also result from problems with the suspension system. You’ll want to bring your vehicle to a trustworthy auto shop immediately to diagnose the problem, as not fixing it could cause more serious problems to the car.
While reading up on your owner’s manual is a great way to better understand your car, we hope this also helps you prepare for any auto issues you may experience. Understanding what could be causing your vehicle’s issues can help you remain calm when problems strike and properly fix your vehicle.
Taking your car for regular service checks is a great way to maintain your car long-term and prevent expensive repairs. Your auto mechanic may also be able to perform custom car performance upgrades. These upgrades can improve different aspects of your car, making your car unique and extending its road life.