Signs your car needs a checkup
Regular checkups are recommended for most things – from your own physical and mental health right down to your car. Consistent maintenance and servicing keeps your vehicle in tip-top condition and you’ll be able to catch any minor issues before things get too serious. However, there are just times when certain parts may unexpectedly break down. That’s why it’s important to use your senses to know what you have to pay attention to, so you can bring your trusty ride to a trusted car doctor, just like the ones we have at the myTukar workshop.
Read more: How to maintain your car
Vibrations naturally come with the car, so you will need to become familiar with how your car feels and figure out if something is out of place. Here are some key questions should you ask yourself:
- Does the vibration get worse as the speed increases?
- Does it happen only at certain speeds? If so, what speeds?
- Does the vibration create a loud noise?
- Does the vibration/noise seem to be concentrated in the car seat?
- Does the car vibrate while standing still with the engine running?
- Do the vibrations seem to be concentrated on the steering wheel?
If you noticed any of the above, it’s time to head down to the workshop.
Much like vibrations, noises are part and parcel when driving a car. But it’s important to know which noises are a cause for concern.
Whining sound from under the bonnet – this is usually caused by a loose belt. A loose belt leads to overheating and battery-related problems.
Louder-than-usual exhaust noise – this could be a hole or crack in your exhaust. These tend to be easy to fix but should be looked at because there’s a risk your exhaust pipe could fall off.
Uneven engine noise – you’ll usually hear this when the car is idling. It could mean the engine is misfiring and needs fixing pronto. This could be an easy fix like replacing spark plugs, but could also indicate a more serious problem with your engine and how it handles the air/fuel mixture.
Metal-on-metal – any scraping sounds coming from your car needs could be caused by a broken part of your car scraping on something else, causing extra damage to both.
Squealing sounds when you step on the brake – this could be an indication of worn brake pads.
The dashboard is where you can glean important information. This ranges from your speed to whether your headlights are turned on. So what lights do you need to pay attention to?
First of all – pay attention to their colours.
- Green or blue lights simply let you know that a system is on or operating
- Orange/yellow warning lights generally signify that the component needs your attention or that your vehicle needs to be serviced or repaired soon
- Red, flashing lights means you should take action immediately. Either pull over to assess the situation or visit a mechanic asap
Some red dashboard lights are safety warnings (like the seat belt reminder) and others are mechanical (like the engine overheating). If a red mechanical light appears, find a safe place to pull over and find out what is wrong. Your vehicle may stop working or become damaged if you continue to drive.
Some key lights to look out for:
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Warning Light
What It Means: When you brake hard, like on slick roads, the ABS pulses the brakes to prevent your wheels from locking up. If the ABS warning light is on, it means that something is wrong with the system.
Check Engine Light
What It Means: Your check engine light may appear for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is triggered by an open, loose or cracked gas cap, which causes fuel to evaporate. But sometimes it indicates a serious issue, like low oil pressure or overheating! (NOTE: Some car dashboards will display the words “CHECK ENGINE” instead of this symbol.)
Engine Temperature Warning Light
What It Means: Your engine is overheating! This most likely has to do with your coolant (also called antifreeze), but it can happen for a variety of reasons. Some cars show this all the time, with a blue light indicating optimal temperatures like in the first image.
Transmission Temperature Warning Light
What It Means: Your transmission is overheating! This could be caused by low transmission fluid, worn transmission parts, heavy towing or something else.
Read more: Important car dashboard symbols
Got a whiff of something fishy in your car when you haven’t been eating in it? These smells may be indicators of a bigger problem within your vehicle.
Burnt rubber – your tyres are melting under the heat (highly unlikely even though the Malaysian weather can be brutal). More plausible reasons include the possibility of slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that may be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do not attempt to reach in and fix it yourself if the engine is hot!
Hot oil – Don’t brush it off as hunger pangs. The smell of hot oil could indicate that oil is leaking onto the exhaust system. To verify the leak, look for oil on the pavements or smoke emitting from the engine area (but turn off the engine first!).
Sweet, syrupy smell – Again, don’t be misled by what seems like a tempting scent. The smell of syrup may be a sign that the car is leaking engine coolant.
Rotten eggs – This foul smell could be hydrogen sulphide, and its presence indicates that the catalytic converter is not converting it to hydrogen dioxide in the exhaust properly. This is a sign of a poor running engine and can cause the catalytic converter to be overloaded and fail.
Cars are complicated and contain many delicate moving parts. So it’s really no surprise that one small issue could build up to a major breakdown over time. Your car may display telltale signs when it needs professional attention, but if you ever have a bad feeling about a certain noise, sound or vibration, then it’s best to follow your gut. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’re on the road.
At myTukar, you can enjoy peace of mind with our professional workshop services. From periodic maintenance to spare parts replacement, we’ve got you covered. Get a quotation with us today!