how to know when to service your car

Getting your car serviced annually and conducting regular in-between checks helps to ensure it operates optimally at all times. Besides, well-serviced cars last longer and have a higher resale value than ones that aren’t. We always advise car owners to follow their manufacturer’s guidelines on how often maintenance is needed and the parts to change during routine services.

But let’s face it, life has a way of staging unwelcome surprises, including that costly car breakdown out of nowhere. Luckily, most cars now send prior warnings to tell when you need to make an urgent trip to the garage.

Here, we take a look at seven tell-tale signs that your car needs servicing.

Dashboard warning lights

This is the most obvious indicator that your car needs immediate attention. A lot of modern cars will show a conspicuous yellow engine light that appears on the dashboard. The light could indicate a range of engine problems, and you need to familiarize yourself with what each means based on the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Also, most cars these days show a service light to remind you when the next service is due. Although a spanner-shaped light doesn’t ring a loud alarm, do not ignore it for too long. Worth a mention is that different car models come with varying indicators to tell you when a repair is needed. Also, learn what each symbol in the dashboard means to know the specific area of your car that needs attention.

Unresponsive/less sensitive breaks

Braking technology has seen tremendous improvements over the past few decades and continues to evolve. Today, there’s a wide array of braking systems, including automatic braking, collision avoidance, and anti-lock braking.

Regardless of the system installed in your car, all brakes should give a clean, smooth, and easy response. A pulling under braking is usually an issue with worn out pads, brake fluids, or your driving method. Should you experience any resistance or unusual sensitivity, it could be time to check with your mechanic.

Steam or smoke under the bonnet

During winter or on chilly mornings, it’s normal to see some white steam coming out of the engine area when you start your car. This is usually water vapor being emitted from your car’s exhaust system, but it shouldn’t last long, lest there’s an underlying problem.

If you notice excessive smoke that leaves a black cloud in the rearview mirror, chances are your car has blockages, leaks, or the radiator is overheating. You can also check whether there’s a black residue in the exhaust, as this could indicate a buildup of carbon in the system.

Smoke from under the bonnet mainly points to issues with the radiator. On the other hand, emissions from the exhaust could signal oil leaks caused by piston wear, valve seals, worn engine oil seals, and damaged piston rings.

Blue smoke, which is usually caused by burning oil, is every driver’s nightmare, and leaving it unattended could see you spend thousands in repairs. If you spot it, stop at the nearest safe place and have your car towed to the garage for an expert check.

Ignition problems

A fully functional vehicle should produce a nice, clean start upon turning the key. Any stutters, splutters, or whirring means there could be a developing issue.

Most ignition problems are caused by a malfunctioning battery, but a faulty starter motor is also to blame in some cases. Whatever the cause is, try to sort the issue as soon as you can.

Strange noises

Any unusual noises coming from your car should be checked immediately to avoid worsening any underlying issue. Here are the possible causes of odd noises in most cars:

  • Whining under the hood is often caused by a loose belt. If left unfixed, it can lead to overheating and battery issues.
  • A cracked exhaust may produce louder than usual noises. This should be an easy fix, but don’t ignore it for long unless you want to drop off the pipe on the road.
  • Uneven engine noise could indicate worn-out spark plugs. It could also be a problem with how the engine handles fuel/air mixture.
  • Any scraping indicates a metal-on-metal contact, probably as a result of a broken or loose part. If left unchecked, it could cause extra damage to the affected parts.
  • Squealing of brakes could indicate worn out pads.
  • A crunching noise may be signaling a problem with gearbox and requires urgent attention.

Engine cutting out

You’d be surprised at how many people deal with a stalling engine every day. A car stalling suddenly is a sign that your engine filters may be blocked and is enough reason to make a trip to the garage.

Reduced comfort

Have you been avoiding speed bumps because your car tires touch the wheel arch and produce a strange sound? Chances are your car has a poor suspension, thereby interfering with the comfort of your rides. Book an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible to have the problem fixed.

Be Safe With Proper Maintenance

If you can identify these signs and resolve the resulting issue early enough, there’s no reason you’ll ever hate owning a car. Most car owners ignore them and end up paying a premium for bigger repairs or, worse, dispose of their vehicles due to frustrations. Don’t be like them!

Service your car as advised by the manufacturer or mechanic to ensure it remains in top condition at all times. Most importantly, keep a full-service history to enable you command a great price should you decide to sell or exchange it. Finally, look for a local garage or mechanic you can trust to work on the car any time it’s down with a problem.

Remember, we buy used cars in Houston and surrounding areas at unbeatable prices. Want to sell your car or truck that’s less than ten years old and is in great shape? Contact us now by filling out the contact form below or call us on 713-660-8666 for an instant cash deal!