Warning Signs Beyond the Check Engine Light

 

Obviously, if your Check Engine light—or any dashboard warning light—comes on in your car, you should take your car in for service. But beyond a bright blinking light, do you know the other warning signs? You use your five senses to recognize when your body is sick. Do the same for your car. Only your car doesn’t have the same five senses as your body. For the purposes of this article, the five car senses are:

1. START

You can tell a lot about the state of your car from what happens when you turn your key in the ignition. You should expect a clean, smooth, quiet engine turning over. 
If you have any clicking, whirring, sputtering, stuttering, or any hesitation whatsoever when you turn your key, that’s something you should keep an eye on. If it persists, take it to your mechanic.

2. RIDE
Once you get your car out on the road, there are a few things to take notice of. If you drive an automatic and your car hesitates or jolts as it shifts gears, that could be troublesome. 
If your car bounces a lot, you may need new shocks. A shaking steering wheel at high speeds means your tires may need balancing.
If your brakes are in any way unresponsive, that is a clear sign to take your car in. If your car stalls even once, it’s time to have it serviced.

3. SIGHT
Every once in a while, start your engine and then get out and walk around the car for a quick inspection.
Take note if you see fluids leaking out from under the car, or darker-than-usual exhaust fumes coming from your tail pipe.
When you’ve been driving a while, if you see smoke coming from under the hood, that is likely a sign of overheating or possibly a leak. Persistent overheating can do major damage if left untreated.

4. SOUND
From the moment you start your engine until the moment you turn it off, listen for high-pitched squeaks and squeals, rattling, revving, clunking, and grinding. 
If you hear a grinding or squealing noise only when slowing down, that could mean your brakes need repair. If you hear clacking while turning, that could mean a joint needs replacing.

5. FEEL
When you’re out on the road, if you feel vibrations coming from the car and not from road conditions, pay attention. This could be from tires that need balancing or a loose bearing that needs tightening or replacing. If your car is riding rough or choppy, that may point to oil that needs to be topped off or changed.
When it comes to your car’s health, stay vigilant. You’ll save money in the long run by keeping on top of problems before they become dire.

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The content contained in this article if for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any professional guidance. AAA does not guarantee any particular outcome.

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