Just as you need to take yourself off to the doctor from time to time when your body isn’t running as well as it should, you need to take your car to an auto mechanic regularly, and especially if it’s trying to tell you that it needs a checkup! ‘But how?’ I hear you ask. ‘Cars can’t talk!’. Perhaps not in human language, but make no mistake, your car can and will communicate with you when there’s a problem, and your job is to be able to successfully interpret what it says. Here are five signs that your car may be feeling a little under the weather.
1. Leaking Carbon Monoxide
Because carbon monoxide is odourless it’s especially difficult to detect a leak. This is a situation in which you need to listen to your own body as well as your car. Carbon monoxide is toxic to humans, and therefore may cause you to feel drowsy, nauseous, or develop a ringing sound in your ears it could mean you’re suffering carbon-monoxide poisoning from a leak inside the car. You must stop immediately if this is the case, because aside from the fact that your car is clearly in trouble, so is your health.
2. Squealing Brakes
If you hear a high-pitched squealing or whistling sound when you apply the brakes, or if your break pedal feels ‘spongey’ or too soft or needs to be pushed almost to the floor in order to stop the car, this means that you need to get your brakes seen to immediately. The squealing noise is most likely due to water on the brake pads or the brake pads are dangerously low.
3. Rattling, Clunking or Clattering
Your car isn’t a percussion instrument. If you hear an abnormal clunking, clattering or rattling coming from the engine (or really anywhere in the car, providing you’re not transporting a box of empty bottles!) it could be an indication that you’ve blown the head gasket. You need to stop and have your car towed to a mechanic or service station ASAP.
4. Difficult Starting the Engine
If it takes you several tries to get your engine to start or you hear a click when you try to turn the key but no ignition, it could be an indication that your battery is running low or that there is a problem with your alternator. Either way, you should have it checked out as soon as possible by a service station.
5. Oil Light
This seems like a relatively simple one – how obviously can it be if your car flashes the oil light? You’d be surprised, dear readers, at how often this light is ignored or simply overlooked. If any of the lights on your dash light up the first thing to do is determine what they mean, and then have the problem seen to immediately.
Having a regular car service is vital to maintaining car health. Even if your car doesn’t show any signs of needing one, prevention is better than a cure so make sure you stay on top of it to ensure a long and happy vehicular life!