While some car repairs are easy to do yourself, some jobs are either too complex or require specialised tools, making it difficult, time consuming and even dangerous to do them yourself. In which case, it’s necessary to visit an experienced mechanic. Here are seven warning signs that you might need to book a service.
Steering and suspension problems
Steering problems are potentially very dangerous as your car won’t perform as you expect during an emergency. For this reason, it’s best to see an experienced mechanic as soon as you notice a problem.
Possible problems include: increased difficulty when steering; steering wheel feeling loose or vibrating; steering wheel pulling to the left or right; car leaning to one side or the other during acceleration or braking; and uneven or premature wear on your tyres.
Engine warning light
Modern cars include a whole host of sensors that measure and monitor hundreds of systems in your car. If they get a result that doesn’t fit within pre-set parameters, the engine warning light will appear on your dashboard. The light will flash to warn you if there is a serious problem. Either way, there’s no need to panic, just take your car to your local garage for a diagnostic to discover what the issue is.
Your car might also have a service light that appears as a reminder that your next service is due. While there’s no rush to book an appointment for a mechanic to run through the full car service checklist, it’s best to check your handbook or service interval record to see when it’s best to arrange for your car to be seen.
Smoke or steam coming from under the bonnet
First of all, what colour is the smoke or steam?
If it’s a white steam, your car is probably just overheating. Take a look at your car’s temperature gauge to confirm this. If the gauge is at maximum, pull over and wait for your car to cool down before you continue your journey. And, even though it’s not critical, schedule an appointment with your mechanic.
If you notice blue smoke, stop your car immediately and arrange to be towed to your local garage. Blue smoke is caused by burning oil, which can significantly damage your engine.
Your car is designed to store and use the fluids that you put into your car – fuel, oil, coolant, etc. In other words, if you notice a leak from anywhere in your car, it’s a good idea to get your car serviced as soon as possible. Not only could this potentially save you a lot of money in repairs, it could also prevent harm to animals from being poisoned by the leaked fluids.
You can tell if your car is leaking when you move it from where it has been parked. Are there stains on the ground? They could be bright green from coolant or dark red/brown from oil or brake fluid. Or is there liquid under where the exhaust pipe was? Don’t worry if you notice water dripping near the front passenger seat during the summer – this will probably be from your car’s air conditioning.
There’s nothing like the sound of a roaring engine as you speed from A to B. However, if your car starts making strange noises, it is worth talking to a mechanic to find out why.
Here are some sounds you may hear, plus what they might mean:
- Clunking or grinding noise coming from under your vehicle – could be your suspension;
- Squealing or grinding sounds when braking – check your brakes, in particular your brake pads, rotors and calipers;
- Dragging or droning noise from your wheels – look at your wheel bearings;
- Crunching gears – probably your gear box;
- Loud exhaust noise – possibly a hole in your exhaust pipe;
- Whining from under the bonnet – are any of your belts loose?
- Uneven engine noise – your engine could be misfiring;
- Metal-on-metal – could be one of 100 different things, best to get it checked quickly.
Does your car vibrate when you drive? In that case, your tyres might need to be renewed or your wheel alignment adjusted.
Or does your car vibrate when you brake? If so, you could have a problem with your brakes, suspension or steering. This is something your mechanic should check for you.
Reduced driving comfort
Reduced driving comfort is often a sign of problems with your suspension. You might notice your car is riding low, hear tyres rubbing on the wheel arch or you might have problems driving over speed bumps. If you notice any of these signs, it’s recommended to go and see a mechanic quickly.
If you’re interested in expanding or refreshing your skills, turn to MOOG TV. Full of useful information, helpful tips and clear instructions, MOOG TV is the ideal place to learn more about how your car works.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.