How to Know When Your Car needs Maintenance
Auto Service is something that everyone needs but most people neglect. Why is that? Preventative maintenance is the easiest way to save money short and long term. The most common reasons people neglect auto repair include:
- Lack of Time
- Not knowing when to take their vehicle in for service
These are reasonable arguments to avoid maintenance, but maintenance should not be avoided! There are not any classes that teach us when to take our cars in for service. It’s tough to get your vehicle fixed when you need it for everyday life. Not having your car or truck for one day can throw off your entire routine. Beyond regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance based on your driving habits, there are certain things to look and listen for when deciding whether or not you need to take your car in for maintenance.
Check Engine Light
The dreaded check engine light isn’t something anyone wants to see. A lot of people just ignore it, but it’s important to address the issue. A check engine light isn’t always a major issue but what does it mean? Of the numerous reasons this warning may illuminate, many times addressing the issue timely may save you from a breakdown or a major expense later.
An oxygen sensor failure
Today’s engines may have four or more oxygen sensors which must work accurately together to provide important information to your vehicle’s computers. Faults can reduce your fuel efficiency. A faulty oxygen sensor can throw off the fuel-combustion and fuel-delivery systems. Other symptoms may be a rough idle or engine misfire. Among other things,it can hurt your pocketbook by forcing you to pay more at the gas pump.
Faulty gas cap
A faulty gas cap can disrupt the vehicle’s evaporative emissions system. If you have a faulty gas cap you won’t be able to pass your emissions test in places that enforce this, like Colorado. This can also disrupt your fuel efficiency, eating into your monthly paycheck or savings.
A failed or inefficient catalytic converter can hurt engine performance and fuel efficiency. One sign of a failed converter may be a rattling noise.
A bad airflow sensor will prevent your PCM from properly controlling fuel. Your engine may idle roughly and your fuel efficiency will once again take a hit.
Spark plugs, ignition coils and ignition wires
Bad spark plugs, ignition coils and ignition wires may result in your engine idling roughly. Your car may also consume more fuel and loses efficiency.
Other clues that your vehicle needs to be taken in for service include:
Oil Spots on your garage floor
If you’re standard parking area suddenly has oil spots underneath, it may be time to take your vehicle in for service. A few drops of oil are likely insignificant . However, heavy oil puddles could indicate something major like a seal, hose, or gasket leaking. If you notice a significant leak it should be addressed immediately! Otherwise, failure of a major component such as an engine or transmission could be the result of low oil in a system and lead to costly repairs!
Green spots on your garage floor
This could mean that your vehicle is leaking radiator fluid (Engine coolant). It should be noted that engine coolants these days can be almost any color from a clear golden to red, blue, purple and more! This can be as serious as a cracked radiator or as simple as a bad fitting hose. It’s important to get it looked at right away. Without radiator fluid, your engine can overheat causing engine damage. Getting your vehicle looked at regularly can save you thousands of dollars by not having to buy a new car or engine.
Have you heard squeaking or squealing brakes before? Brake noises can indicate that your brakes are failing,or have become too worn. The longer you put off brake repair the more expensive it will become. It’s also a huge safety hazard. Do yourself a favor and take your vehicle in to get looked at ASAP!
Grinding means that you waited too long to replace your brakes. If you are past the squeaking and squealing phase, you’ve gone way too far! This is a serious safety hazard for yourself and everyone around you.
Screeching when you turn your car on
Your belts may be worn. It may not mean you need to replace them right away but it’s worth looking at. This is oftentimes a simple and quick fix.
Growling or light grinding noise while driving
If you hear a humming noise, it may mean your tires have irregular tread wear. Another reason could be a bad wheel bearing. Get this checked out right away. A failed wheel bearing can cause other damage to your vehicle, or potentially cause loss of vehicle control which may result in an accident! Have a professional inspect your vehicle if you suspect a wheel bearing concern.
If you live in Boulder county and need auto repair or service, give us a call! We offer complimentary local shuttle service. Drop your vehicle off before work and get picked up when it’s done!