Imagine cruising to the nearest beach in your car, enjoying the wind blowing in your hair. You're picturing those warm waters, when alas, your vehicle breaks down and you find yourself stranded by the side of the road. Just the thought is enough to give goose bumps!
A car breakdown can result in severe indignation, extreme inconvenience, and costly repairs. It can even cause terrible accidents. Featured below are seven warning signs that your car is in need of repairs.
1. 'Check Engine' Light has been illuminated or is flashing
Most modern cars warn that there is something that requires your attention, by showing an illuminated 'Check Engine' Light that is on your vehicle's instrument panel. Though not a cause for immediate panic, you must get your car checked at a dependable repair shop whenever this indicator lights up, sooner rather than later. The 'Check Engine' Light can be a sign of many different problems - from a badly misfiring engine to a loose gas cap. Your mechanic will be able to identify the problem precisely.
2. Smoking bonnet
A smoking hood is often an indicator of an over-heated engine. You can easily avoid this problem by keeping an eye on the temperature gauge of your vehicle. This indicator, which often looks like a thermometer, is situated next to the 'Check Engine' Light on your instrument panel. The minute you see it blinking, pull over to the side of the road and turn the vehicle off. Wait for the engine to cool off before starting your car again. Also, seek some professional assistance as soon as possible.
3. Excessive smoke from the exhaust
Apart from really cold days, at no time should your car billow excessive smoke from its exhaust. Often an indicator of an oil leak, if ignored, this warning sign is followed by severe damage to your engine due to friction. Other tell-tale signs of oil leaks include a burning smell in the interiors of your car and/or black residue on your rear bumper. It is advised to get your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic if it is letting out too much smoke.
4. Recurring or sudden transmission issues
If you are having difficulty with acceleration, experiencing sudden speed surges, or hearing weird sounds coming from your car, then chances are that there are transmission problems. Ignoring these can damage your vehicle's clutch and gear plate, and could even result in a total breakdown. Book an appointment with a qualified mechanic as soon as these problems arise, as transmission issues are often some of the most expensive repairs that you will be forced to undertake.
5. Coolant leaks
Are you noticing green patches on your regular parking spot? If yes, then it's a sign that your car's coolant is leaking due to cracks in its pipe. The issue can be fixed by topping up the coolant. Failing to do so will result in over-heating of your vehicle's engine.
6. Noises while driving
If you hear a dragging, droning, squealing, or grinding noise while driving your car, then it is time to head to your service center. Dragging or droning sounds could be an indicator of some differential bearings or wheel bearings going bad. Squealing or grinding, especially while slowing down, means there could be a problem with your vehicle's brakes.
7. Engine chugging, racing or shaking
Do you get the feeling that your engine is chugging, racing, or shaking while you are driving? Often, this could mean your vehicle's engine is suffering from a performance problem and is misfiring. Like the illuminated 'Check Engine' Light, this problem won't cause an immediate breakdown of your vehicle. However, ignoring it over time can cause irreparable damage to your car's engine. A simple tune-up of the engine by a qualified mechanic will resolve this issue.
Noticing warning signs and having the issues fixed will not only prevent breakdowns, but also avert major problems that commonly affect your vehicle. Visit your mechanic and prepare for that beach visit in peace!
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