Safety should always be a top priority for car owners. Besides driving carefully and avoiding collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, and road objects, drivers must be wary about their cars malfunctioning while driving, potentially becoming an obstruction and causing various accidents on the road.
The good news is that various signs can tell you what type of issue your car is having. You just have to watch out for the many indicators so you can address them or bring your vehicle to a mechanic. Read on for more.
Dashboard Warning Lights
All cars have built-in warning indicators that notify you of any issues occurring inside your vehicle. Some familiar icons you will encounter include the check engine, battery, and oil pressure warnings. Meanwhile, modern units have more indicators, like tire pressure lights, coolant temperature, and airbag warnings.
Generally, a certain issue triggers these indicators, some less urgent than others, like the low fuel level warning. Still, if one of these lights appears while you’re driving, it’s best to address it immediately. Go to the nearest mechanic or pull over and call for help.
Strange Noises While Driving
There are various strange noises you could encounter in your car’s lifetime. However, these sounds indicate multiple issues happening inside and outside your vehicle. It’s best to know the difference between them to determine and understand your problem.
For instance, a hissing sound when your car is on or idle could indicate that you have a vacuum leak, while a clicking sound while driving could mean low or dirty engine oil. Meanwhile, certain sounds indicate different issues. A squeaking noise could mean faulty brake pads or damaged power steering systems.
The bottom line is that when you hear these strange noises, bring your car to an expert immediately. Besides hissing, clicking, and squeaking, you must listen for rattling, ticking, and chugging sounds in your vehicle. It’s also best to identify when and where the unusual sound is coming from to give a more detailed description to your mechanic, allowing them to diagnose the problem better.
Frequent Stalling or Power Loss
There are various ways for your engine to stall or lose power. Fortunately, most of them require a simple fix, like a dead battery, which you can address by jump-starting or replacing it with a new one. Other reasons include an empty fuel tank, a bad alternator, and a corroded distributor cap.
Although this problem mostly requires an easy fix, a regular trip to the mechanic can help prevent your car from stalling often or struggling to generate power. That way, you won’t have to deal with breaking down on the side of the road.
Mystery Puddles Under the Car
Generally, your car will leak water underneath because of the condensation from your air conditioning unit during a hot season. It also happens in your exhaust in colder temperatures, particularly in the wintertime. Regardless, there’s no need to call a mechanic when these incidents occur. They’re harmless and don’t need expert care.
Meanwhile, if your car leaks a colored, sometimes sticky, liquid, you may be dealing with a more severe problem. For instance, a brown liquid indicates your vehicle’s leaking oil, power steering fluid, or, worse, brake fluid. Don’t try to drive your car to a mechanic when this happens. Instead, have an expert come to your vehicle.
Inconsistent Brake Behavior
Your brake system is the most vital safety feature of your vehicle. Damage to it could cause fatal accidents, affecting not just its driver but also other people.
If you have to press harder on the brakes to apply adequate stopping power, it could indicate an issue with the system. It could mean your brake fluid is leaking or you have worn brake pads. Once you detect these issues, it’s best not to drive your vehicle to prevent any accidents. Call a mechanic to handle them.
Smoke Coming From the Hood
Smoke coming out of your vehicle is an event that you should never ignore. A cloud under your hood could be coming from a fire. When that happens, pull over and turn off your engine. Try to pull the release lever for your hood, but never prop it open. Then, get out and maintain a safe distance while calling the authorities. Of course, you must also warn oncoming traffic about the fire.
Meanwhile, smoke can also come from an issue that doesn’t seem as fatal as a fire, like overheating. It’s best to observe what happens to help create a detailed description for the mechanic. Details like when the smoke appears, whether when starting the engine or when accelerating, and the color of the smoke and where it’s coming from, whether from under the hood or the exhaust, are vital to helping mechanics diagnose your car better.
Uneven roads generally cause weird vibrations. However, if you’re noticing unusual movements, even on straight roads, there could be an underlying issue that you must fix. These include engine problems, axle issues, unbalanced wheels, and brake trouble. There are cases when problems occur in your steering systems. You could have loose steering components or power steering concerns.
If your vehicle vibrates or judders while you drive, it’s best to go straight to a mechanic to determine what’s wrong and handle it immediately.
Watch Out for the Warning Signs
Being aware of the mentioned car warning signs is crucial to ensuring driver safety and vehicle longevity. Ignoring them can lead to accidents, expensive and irreversible repairs, and breakdowns that could make your car an obstruction on the road. Stay observant of every indicator, unusual noise, or feeling, and bring your vehicle to an expert once you detect them.