We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road and notice that little yellow indicator on your dash come on or notice something is off about the way your car is handling. You’re on your way home from work and hear a noise that you didn’t hear on your way into the office. Problems can creep up out of nowhere and cause more issues if you choose to ignore them. Here are a few signs that mean it may be time to take your vehicle to the mechanic.
Check Engine Light
The first, and most obvious, indicator on this list is your check engine light. If something is wrong with any system or component in your vehicle it can trigger this warning notification to let you know something isn’t right. More modern vehicles can self-diagnose themselves and tell you exactly what the issue is in the information display system but more than likely you’ll need to stop by the mechanic to figure out what the problem is and how soon it needs to be addressed. More serious issues will set off a red stop engine light meaning you need to have your vehicle repaired immediately as driving it can and most likely will cause further damage to the failing component.
Pulling to the Left or Right
Another obvious sign that means your car may need some attention in the near future is pulling to either side of the road. If you’re driving in a straight path and you notice you’re having to pull the steering wheel to one side just to keep it straight you may have an issue with the alignment, tires, suspension, brakes, or steering components.
Poor Fuel Mileage
Experiencing greater fuel consumption can be hard on your vehicle as well as your wallet. A few issues that can cause this to happen could be improper tire inflation, old spark plugs, clogged air filters, or leaking fuel injectors. The way you drive also has a huge impact on fuel economy. Coupled with the issues stated above, driving your vehicle aggressively can leave you at the gas pump much more frequently.
Underperforming or Noisy Brakes
When your brakes start going out you’re going to know it and this is not something you should put off. One indication that your brakes are going bad would if the pedal can be pressed all the way to the floor. This could indicate a loss of brake fluid, master cylinder failure, or a bad brake booster. If you hear your brakes squealing or making a grinding sound, it’s probably time to have the pads replaced. Ignoring these sounds can cause damage to your rotors and/or drums, whichever your vehicle is equipped with.
Different odors can mean different things. A musty smell can indicate mold in your air-conditioning vents, a sweet smell can mean there is anti-freeze leaking somewhere in the coolant system, or a burning smell could mean a number of potentially hazardous things such as oil dripping onto the exhaust or hot brakes.
Whatever signs you may be noticing, it is important to know your vehicle and know what’s normal and what isn’t. If you feel like something isn’t quite right it’s best to get an expert opinion.