Sometimes it’s obvious when you need auto repair services. You’re driving down the highway and your vehicle’s engine sputters and stalls. Or you’re out doing your grocery shopping and you put your key the ignition, only to hear a weird grinding or clicking sound.
Yet at other times, you may wonder whether or not you’re overreacting. For example:
- The “Check Engine” light blinks on and off but doesn’t stay on steadily.
- The “Check Engine” warning comes on and stays on steadily, but your car runs smoothly and sounds fine.
- You notice a puddle under the vehicle after it’s been parked for a while.
- The gauges flirt with the ‘red zone’ when you drive for more than 10 minutes, but you’re not really sure what it means, and since the vehicle still gets you where you want to go, you ignore it.
Auto repair services aren’t just for those times when your vehicle breaks down completely! Make sure you pay attention to these warning signs and have an ASE-certified technician check out your vehicle promptly.
Warning and service lights that blink on intermittently. This could be a sign of a loose wire, a malfunctioning computer chip, or an incipient problem — but only your mechanic can tell for sure. Most vehicles must be checked by a good auto mechanic as well as by computer diagnostics to determine the source of the problem. But as with most things in life, it’s probably cheaper to catch the problem while it’s still in the warning stage rather than wait until the vehicle doesn’t run.
Warning and service lights that are on steadily. Your vehicle’s gauges and service lights are there for a reason; to tell you when there’s a problem. Bring your car into your auto mechanic immediately if the Check Engine or any other warning light pops on and does not shut off.
Fluid leaks and puddles. If you consistently notice a puddle under your vehicle after it has been parked for any length of time, you may have a leak. Note the color of the fluid and try to identify it. Open the hood of the vehicle and look for drips and damp patches on hoses, reservoirs and other compartments. Check the fluid levels and note if any are low. If you can identify the type of fluid that is leaking, tell your mechanic, but don’t ignore leaks.
Squealing or shrieking noises from the engine compartment. Squealing and shrieking noises may indicate a loose or rubbing belt. A broken belt can lead to costly repairs or become a safety hazard if it breaks while driving. Note when you hear the noise, and bring your car into JOCO Auto to identify the source of the problem.
Engine that’s hard to start. Anytime your vehicle’s engine is hard to start, it’s time to have a professional look at the vehicle. It’s better to have your vehicle checked now than to get stuck late at night with a vehicle that won’t start!