Having a car is all fun and games until a weird noise or an unexpected light shows up. If you own a used car, then you know some issue is bound to surface at some point. However, to minimize any future issues, you should know what to check for when buying a used car. On the other hand, if you are using a brand new car, any unusual noise will give you a shock.
Should you freak out every time? (Hint: NO)
If you are a car owner, it is a must that you know when you need to take your car to a mechanic. What does better prepare you for anything to do with your car? You might not guess this. It is, in truth, the much neglected car manual that lies somewhere in a pile of dust.
Car Manual to the Rescue
Yes, you do find many online resources. But, they are too generic. Only your car’s manual has the specific information about your car’s model, make, and year. The following are some important information you will find in the manual. Moreover, having read about these will save you from panicking unnecessarily.
- The type of oil you need
- Maintenance schedule
- Dash light meanings
- Tire pressure light
- Oil change/maintenance needed light
- Check engine light
- Oil pressure light
Signs You Need a Mechanic’s Help
1. Squeaking Brakes
Not all brake noises indicate problems. If the squeaking noise is occasional, it could be the cause of dust, sand, or water.
However, if your brakes squeak when stopping, you should get a mechanic’s help right away. Brakes are no joking matter! Properly functioning brakes is must for the safety of both yourself as well as other pedestrians and vehicles on the road. Do not ignore any of these signs because brakes can quickly go from a simple job to an expensive repair.
2. The Brake Pedal Feels Low when Stopping
If you have to push the brake pedal further into the floor in order to stop the vehicle, this could mean two things. One, is that there is simply air in the brake system. On other hand, it could be the omen to an impending brake failure. Which of these two it is, only a mechanic could tell you.
3. Flashing Check Engine Light
There’s no time to kid around! Your engine is experiencing some serious damage. Once this sign shows up, drive it as less as possible. Take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. If you do these, you will minimize further damage to the overall vehicle, as well as the amount of money you will have to spend.
4. Vehicle Cutting off while Driving
If you experience this while driving, what you should NOT do is to jump-start and drive away. What you should do is to get the car check immediately. A common reason for this issue is a bad alternator. You can jump-start and keep driving until it uncharges the battery and you are stranded somewhere all alone.
5. Smoke or Steam
If you see blue smoke coming from under the bonnet, stop the car immediately. This is an indication that that oil is burning. This could damage your engine badly.
A white steam means that your car is probably overheating. Check your car’s temperature gauge to confirm this.
6. Car Heating
If the temperature gauge is at maximum, pull over and wait for your car to cool down. An overheating is no way a good sign. You need to immediately stop driving. Get a tow and get a mechanic to check the car as soon as possible.
7. Clunking Noise
This is a possible sign of a bad shock absorber. If you ignore this, this will affect steering, braking, and handling.
8. Loud Clicking
When making a turn, if you hear a loud clicking noise, there is an issue. This could indicate that there is an issue in the CV joint which lubes the front axles. Do not neglect this as it will later cost you your bank account to repair the axles.
If you hear ticking noises when you stop your car, there is a high chance that the car needs an oil change. Change oil immediately, or you will have to replace your engine.
10. Squealing Brakes
This could indicate worn down brake pads or shoes. Brake pads come with indicators that have been designed to make these noises when brake pads need to be replaced.
11. Grinding Brake Pads
If the car makes grinding or clunking sounds at every stop, there could be a serious problem. Moreover, if the grinding sounds metal-on-metal, it could indicate completely worn down brake pads. This is alarming, and you need to get it checked immediately.
However, small grinding noises could also be normal brake sounds, especially if it is a front-wheel-drive- vehicle.
12. Wobbly Steering Wheel
Does your car jiggle at certain speeds? This could be a series of issues. Tire problems, a loose lug nut, you name it! If you find yourself unable to control your car, immediately pull over, and call for help. If there is a mechanic in the vicinity, drive there SLOWLY.
13. Burning Smell
You don’t want to keep driving your car any longer, or stay inside the car, for that matter. If you smell gasoline, too, it is an indication that fuel is leaking, what’s worse is that this could lead to an engine fire.
14. Warning Lights or “Check Engine” Lights
This could mean two things. On the one hand, there could be no reason at all. On the other hand, this could be an early warning.
However, if the “oil pressure” or “temperature” lights are flashing, pull over and get immediate help.
Moreover, if you are seeing the “check engine” or “tire pressure” lights, make sure a mechanic checks your car within the next two days.
Ignoring the different aches and pains is not good for our health in the long run. They could lead to serious health issues. In the same manner, if you ignore the weird car noises, smells, and lights, they could surprise you later with an expensive repair or replacement, or worse, an accident. Therefore, make sure you are aware of the above sounds, lights, and smells whenever you drive your car. In fact, make it a habit to turn off the music and listen to the car every now and then. If you experience any of the mentioned issues, check for reliable car services and mechanics and take your car for a checkup.