You are planning for a weekend gateway with your loved one, or a summer vacation with your family, but, all of a sudden, it feels like your car is ‘misbehaving’. Yes, sometimes car trouble can catch you out at the worst possible moment.
If your car starts to be sluggish, stalling, or some little lights on the dashboard come on out of nowhere – your car may simply be trying to tell you that it’s time to get it serviced.
Without routine maintenance and servicing, a host of problems could build up over time. Even if your car is not yet due for a manufacturer-recommended service, it may need to be taken in, as potential warning signs should not be ignored.
These handy tips can help you spot the warning signs that it’s time for a tune-up or maintenance, so you can avert disaster and ensure your car is in top condition:
1. Warning Lights
Indicator lights on your dashboard that come on when starting the car and stay illuminated are there to warn of a problem or potential problem with a vehicle system or component. Get them diagnosed at your earliest opportunity; while they could be indicating something as simple as a burned out taillight, they could also be warning of a more serious problem, such as a transmission failure.
When a vehicle suddenly begins stalling when you try to accelerate, or at other times, it’s a warning sign that could indicate fouled spark plugs, a clogged fuel filter, or many other things that can put you in a dangerous situation.
3. Ignition Problems
Yes, you can be a little slow and sluggish early in the morning, but not your car. If it won’t start easily, it takes turning the key repeatedly for it to start, or if it cuts soon after ignition, you could have a weak battery, a defective starter motor, or a host of other problems.
4. Reduction in Fuel Mileage
If you notice that a tank of gas isn’t getting you as far as it used to, get your car checked out. When your vehicle is experiencing a sudden reduction in fuel mileage, it indicates it’s not operating as efficiently as it should as a result of improper tire pressure, a stuck brake pad, or that it’s simply time for a tune-up.
5. Soft or Noisy Brakes
If your brake squeaks harshly or you feel a rhythmic vibration or any major resistance, or oversensitivity when you apply the brakes, it means it’s time for a service.
You should always feel a crisp response when you put your foot on the brake pedal, and because brake pads, rotors and brake fluid are items that wear, they need to be replaced and maintained periodically.
6. Other Noises
If your car starts to squeal and squeak, it could indicate a myriad of things, such as a loose or worn belt, a low power steering fluid level, an unbalanced tire or a failing CV joint. Get your car serviced as soon as possible, or your warranty may not cover you if your car dies.
7. Grinding Gears
Your car’s gearbox requires maintenance and regular replacement of fluids, filters and screens, and it will give you loud warning signs when it’s time to do so. If you hear a grinding when shifting gears, your car hesitates when shifting from reverse to drive or vice versa, or gear changes are rough or abrupt, it’s time to get a tune-up.
If there seems to be a sudden vibration or shudder as you drive your car that is not caused by rough road surface, it could be something as innocent as a loose piece of plastic paneling, or it could be something much more dangerous like over-worn or unbalanced tires, a tire going flat, the failing of a universal joint or loosening of a bearing. Whether you only feel it in the steering wheel at a certain speed or throughout the whole vehicle, it could indicate a variety of problems and should be checked.
Whether your vehicle is almost new or you have an oldie, listen to what it’s trying to tell you, and act on those warning signs if you want to experience fewer vehicle-related problems. Diagnosing and fixing a minor problem can help you avoid a much bigger and costlier problem down the road.
Our expert team at CNM Auto Repair is passionate about assisting our clients, so bring your Domestic, European, Japanese or Asian vehicle to our shop and we’ll ensure it’s performing optimally for years to come.
Contact our family owned and operated auto repair shop in in Lancaster, PA today for all your tune-up, alignment, and other car and light truck services – make an appointment with our expert auto mechanics today at (717) 397-1497.