Getting on the road is one of the scariest things you will do, so having a sturdy, reliable car is important. Knowing how to tell if something is wrong with your car is vital to feeling safe and comfortable when driving.
1. The Sounds
Just like a baby crying, your car will usually make a sound if something is wrong. If you hear a ringing, a beeping, or if it simply feels louder in the car, something is wrong. Any grinding or grating sounds are also a bad sign and need to be checked out as soon as possible.
2. Warning Lights
Most cars are equipped with warning indicators that remind you to check the engine, change the oil, or if your tires are low on air.
That also includes the gas gauge. Keeping your car above half-full at all times is a smart way to keep your car in good condition and feel safe getting on the freeway.
When a warning light comes on, check your owner’s manual (there is a purpose to those manuals) and go as soon as you can to a tire shop or your dealer to get the car checked out before getting back on the road.
If you smell rubber, that can be a bad sign. Sometimes other fluids will cause a smell in your car. Don’t head straight to a store to get a new scent for your car. Be aware of any changes in your vehicle so you can notice if something feels off.
4. Dropping Gas Mileage
If you notice that your gas tank doesn’t get you nearly as far as it used to, this could be a problem with your engine or spark plugs. You can take your vehicle in for a fuel cleaning to improve your vehicle’s efficiency. Taking it in for a tune-up and sharing this issue with your mechanic can also help solve the issue.
5. Trouble Getting Up to Speed
Once you’re on the freeway and you notice that your car is sputtering to get up to speed, this is a sign that your transmission might need some repairs. Take your car into the shop as soon as you can. Any delay could mean more problems later.
6. Engine Stalls or Loss of Power
It is a scary experience to have an engine stall when you’re on the highway or even just sitting at a busy stoplight. Obviously, this is a symptom of a much bigger problem, so take your vehicle into a mechanic. If you have a loss of power, this can be an issue with the way your car converts gasoline into power. Same rules apply here—take it into a trusted mechanic immediately.
7. Problems Steering
Some people can take their hands off the wheels for even a couple seconds (we don’t recommend this) and the car continues to drive straight. Whereas others immediately start to veer, if the person isn’t power steering the car to go the right way. This could be the alignment or being short on steering fluid. Have your mechanic add some in when you go in for a tune-up.
Just like a person needs to exercise, eat good fuel foods and get adequate rest, your vehicle needs the same. Use a car monitoring system to check your car yourself to know of any potential problems. Be aware of changes in the road and to your car when you get inside and if you have any suspicion at all, take it in. Better safe than sorry.