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Aug 5, 2015

3 Signs Your Car Gives You When It Needs Maintenance

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Preventing a small issue with your car from escalating into a huge, expensive problem is part of being a responsible car owner. That doesn’t mean that you need to be the equivalent of a helicopter parent when it comes to supervising your car’s status, but it is important to keep an eye out for a few key signs. Let’s review some of the basics so you know exactly what to look for.

When Does Your Car Need Maintenance?

Your Car Will Tell you What it Needs

All cars come with an indicator on the dashboard that was specifically designed by the manufacturer to alert you to potential issues. On older cars, it’s simply an LED that lights up, whereas newer cars will alert you more directly. The indicator light can be for an optional issue, but sometimes it comes on only after a major malfunction has occurred so do not ignore that light! Consult your operator’s manual for more information, as each car will have its own system for communicating.

Listen, Listen, and Listen

Even smooth running cars will make a noise when it runs – the trick is to look for new noises that you don’t regularly hear when the car is on. In addition, excessive shaking, rattling, squeaking, or other loud noises emanating from the car is a sign that your mechanic needs to look at the vehicle.

Tip: Immediately after turning off your car, as the different parts settle in, noises will continue to come from your vehicle so don’t worry if your car isn’t silent immediately after taking the keys out of the ignition.

If you don’t know what noises your car usually makes, start paying attention. For example it can be normal for your car to come to a quiet squeak as it comes to a halt.

Knowing How your Car Handles

In addition to being familiar with your car’s noises, you will also get a feeling for how your car turns, starts, stops, and feels at different speeds. If the handling changes, that can be a sign that there’s a mechanical failure, regardless of whether the car’s maintenance light is on or not. For example being unable to turn your car’s wheels fully is a sign that the steering system needs work. Even for features that you don’t use regularly, its malfunction may be an indicator of a greater issue at hand.


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