Does that “CHECK ENGINE” light on your car’s dash warrant immediate attention? How about those weird sounds, like the screeching you hear when you put the brakes on? Does that constant vibration or swaying motion mean your ride needs repairs?
All these are questions you have as a relative newcomer to the world of car maintenance. It’s completely understandable to feel concerned, even worried. Sometimes though, not all strange occurrences in your vehicle automatically require a licensed mechanic.
But there are more cases wherein the signs already mean you need expert auto repair. And taking it to a trustworthy mechanic ASAP can make a huge difference in safety.
This can mean safe, enjoyable driving or a drive that can end in major repair expenses. Worse, even an accident.
So, to help you determine when to take it for immediate repairs, be on the lookout for these five signs:
1. Continuously Blinking or Flashing Check Engine Light
There are two ways a check engine light lights up. It either remains steadily lit, or it continues blinking or flashing. Both mean you need to have your car serviced.
When exactly is what differentiates the two. When this light on your dash blinks or flashes, it’s best you have an auto repair professional look at it right away. This warns you that a problem needing immediate attention has occurred.
In most cases, this tells the you that the engine has misfired – severely. An example is when unburned fuel goes to the exhaust system. When this happens, the catalytic converter sustains serious damages, leading to pricey repairs.
Note that this is only one of the many situations where you’ll encounter a blinking check engine light. In any case, it’s one of the times you should immediately call a mechanic.
A steady light, on the other hand, doesn’t require immediate attention. You should still have your vehicle inspected and serviced soon though. Keeping that light lit for longer than necessary can already affect your ride’s performance and exhaust functions.
2. When There’s Knocking, There’s Something (Bad)
When someone knocks at your door, would you keep them waiting? You wouldn’t, would you? You should do the same when you hear such sounds coming from your car.
A knocking sound almost always indicates the need for immediate auto repair. You don’t have that much time before the problem causing it worsens. In fact, that knocking may just be the last thing you hear before your engine dies.
So, as soon as you hear this, turn your engine off. Then, contact a mechanic as soon as possible. This way, you won’t put additional pressure on the car, which can lead to its ultimate breakdown.
3. Other Weird Sounds
Aside from the knocking, your car may make a lot of other weird sounds. The keyword here is weird. If this is the only way you can describe what you’re hearing, then it’s most likely something you shouldn’t even be hearing.
For instance, a grinding or squealing noise typically indicates an issue with the brakes. This can mean you’ve used your brake pads to the point they’re worn out. In this case, an auto repair service can replace them for you.
Keep in mind that a quick-to-respond braking system is essential to safe driving. The more miles you rack up, the more worn your brakes get. And the grinding or squealing sounds means they’ve reached the point of replacement.
A dragging or droning noise is another sound to pay immediate attention to. This is a typical symptom of problems with wheel bearings. It may also mean that something constantly rubs against your car’s brake rotors when it shouldn’t.
Either way, an experienced mechanic can help pinpoint the exact problem. Your job is to take your ride to the mechanic right away.
4. Smoke Is Never a Good Thing
You should never ignore smoke, whether it’s coming from the front or the rear of your car. You should never find yourself in a situation where your car emits smoke.
Smoke that comes from under the hood is a usual sign of an overheating engine. This may have resulted from your coolant gauge running dry. It’s also possible that you paid no attention to that white smoke from your tailpipe, and that led to your engine overheating.
Whichever the case is, a smoking car needs the immediate attention of an auto repair professional. Continue to operate your car, and you may already cause serious engine damage.
If you’re driving and your car decides to puff out smoke, pull over. Turn the engine off and wait for it to cool down. While waiting, contact a trustworthy mechanic to help you with the diagnosis and repair.
5. Leaks, Whatever the Color Is
Have you noticed liquid pooling up where you usually park your car? Don’t ignore it. Instead, contact a licensed mechanic as soon as possible.
Those liquid pools often signal that you have leaks in your vehicle. And with so many types of vehicle liquids, it can be hard for an average driver to determine which one is causing the problem. Whether it’s red, orange, brown, yellow, green, or blue, that usually means a leaky vehicle liquid tank.
It’s possible that the leak is from your coolant (bright green). If you see red or brown, this can point to an engine oil leak. It could also be a leak from a brake or transmission fluid tank.
Don’t let your confusion get in your way of contacting a mechanic ASAP. You don’t want to drive with a leaky tank (whatever tank that is). Not only because it can cause more damage, but also because it can put you at a safety risk.
Prompt Auto Repair Can Save You from a Whole Lot of Headaches
Whichever of these signs you may have noticed, it’s important you act accordingly and promptly. And that means calling a licensed repair specialist to conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle. The sooner they diagnose it, the sooner you can have your fully-functional car back.
Need to schedule your car for repairs? We’re here to help. Call us now to set up an appointment for your prized ride.