Deferred maintenance on your car can cost you a lot. Neglected brakes can destroy the rotors, a leaking hose can cause your engine to overheat and a defective sensor can leave your car running on fewer cylinders than it should. Whether you drive a brand-new Suburban or are rocking your 19-year-old Oldsmobile, knowing when your car needs to go to the mechanic can save you a ton of money. Here are six signs you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Your Temperature Gauge is Climbing
Unless your area is experiencing a heat wave and you’re driving up a lot of mountains, your temperature gauge should be around the same place all the time. If you notice it creeping up higher than normal for no discernible reason, it’s time to take it to the shop. There are many reasons why a car can overheat and the damage from ignoring it can cripple your vehicle.
2. Bizarre Noises are Emanating From the Vehicle
We all love to rock out behind the wheel, but make sure you take the time to ride in silence every few days. Any knocking, pinging, rattling or squealing from under the hood is a sign your car needs serviced. While it may just be a loose bolt, it could also be a disaster waiting to happen.
3. Your Car Starts Shifting Hard
It doesn’t matter if your vehicle is an automatic, a standard or a hybrid transmission, hard shifting should be checked out immediately. Transmission issues can be incredibly expensive, and the price climbs the longer you ignore the problem.
4. Dubious Stains Appearing Under Your Parked Car
It’s normal for water to drip from your vehicle in the summer if you are using the air conditioning. It’s even normal for there to be condensation in the mornings that may steam off when you fire up the car. You need to be concerned about antifreeze, oil and gas. If any of these liquids are coming out of your car and leaving stains behind, get to a mechanic.
5. Your Gas Mileage Takes a Nose-Dive
If you are filling up more often, your engine may be having trouble burning fuel efficiently. This could be caused by a leak in the fuel line, a clogged filter or any other number of problems. Get to a mechanic to have your vehicle evaluated.
6. The Exhaust Starts to Reek
While car exhaust doesn’t smell too great normally, you need to get to a service station if you start to notice a foul odor. A bad smell could be anything from burning oil to faulty wiring.
Knowing when to take your car into a mechanic is essential to protecting your investment. It is also important to keep a small issue from blooming into a huge problem.