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Don’t Brush It Off ― Here Are The Signs Your Car Needs A Tune-Up 

Taking care of your vehicle isn’t that complicated, especially when you only have to change the air filters or the oil, because these tasks are pretty straightforward. Indeed, if you’re passionate about cars, you might learn to do more than that, such as clean the engine or change the lightbulbs.

However, sometimes we must realize that some problems cannot be solved easily and require a professional’s opinion on finding a solution. At the same time, there are cases in which you should simply buy a new car because its general lifespan is about 12 years, so anything more than that might need replacement. Some advanced vehicles, like electric ones, can be maintained to live longer than that, but you can’t expect a car to last a lifetime.

So, if you’re unsure about going to the service to fix an issue, here are some signs that show you the problem is bigger than you think.

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The steering wheel is difficult to control

The steering is one of the most essential parts of your vehicle because it allows you to be in control. If the steering is suddenly inefficient when turning, it means you’re prone to having a road trip accident because it’ll be more challenging to protect yourself and avoid accidents.

There might be various causes of it, whether your power steering fluid is low or there’s another malfunction, so until you go to the service, the factor cannot be known. Indeed, sometimes you can figure out the problem with OBD diagnostic equipment, but professionals know how to use advanced equipment to find the actual problem.

Fluids are leaking all the time

Leaking fluids are usually not normal, although water drains should not be worrying as they often result from air conditioning condensation, which happens frequently during the summer. On the other hand, leaking water can be the result of exhaust during winter.

However, when the car’s leaking consists of fuel, it’s best not to drive because the fuel tank might be cracked, so better call the mechanic to patch it. Red fluids can also happen due to transmission fluids leaking, but brown or yellow fluids are also bad news. Sometimes, warning lights on the dashboard show you when something’s not right, but if you want specialised software, you can get the OBDLink to connect with your smartphone.

Brakes are not effective anymore

Broken brakes are the worst, especially when you notice them not working randomly. Indeed, they must be checked repeatedly because brakes wear down over time, but if they’re not properly working or are emitting noises, it’s best to get them checked. Screeching or squealing usually means the pads need to be replaced while vibrating brakes can signify problems like brake fluid problems.

It’s best to give special attention to brakes because they’re a frequent cause of accidents when they fail to engage or release. In these cases, collisions are inevitable because the car cannot be stopped or controlled adequately in traffic.

The engine is making weird noises

It’s not uncommon for engines to be a little bit loud, especially when they’re older, but that doesn’t mean pronounced sounds are normal. Noises like grinding, popping or growling are the only signs you need to go to the mechanic, as the causes include worn-out belts or engine misfires.

Other causes of weird engine noises include faulty pulleys, exhaust system woes and low oil levels. Although many people ignore engine noises most of the time, you should never get over squealing, hissing and knocking noises.

The car is experiencing stalls

Stalls are common in cars with manual transmissions, but they also occur in automatic vehicles and must be tackled immediately. When the engine suddenly dies, you can either have a dead battery or a faulty fuel pump, but ignition issues are also considered. However, stalling can happen if you don’t release the clutch properly.

Stalls can be dangerous if happening in the middle of traffic, especially since most drivers don’t have the patience to wait for you to start the car again. Road rage can be pretty tricky to handle, so it’s best to check your care frequently to avoid it happening in such cases.

The car is overheating

Overheating might not be that worrying, but it surely needs to be addressed. If you notice steam under the hood, it means the radiator is slowly burning, so don’t try to start the car in this situation. Overheating can also be noticed when the AC doesn’t work anymore, or you feel a burnt smell in the car.

Overheating can occur for several reasons, including a lack of coolant and a damaged thermostat. A broken water pump means the coolant is not circulating anymore, leading to overheating. Therefore, it’s best to switch off the air conditioning and pull over to turn off the engine to ensure you’re not worsening the situation.

How often should you get your car checked?

Regardless of your experience or car type, it’s best to take your vehicle to the mechanic at least twice a year to prevent major issues from occurring. However, if you want to make sure the car is in a perfect state, you might want to check it monthly or quarterly, especially if you own an older car or are an inexperienced driver.

Getting your car checked frequently also helps maintain an affordable budget for repairs. If you ignore bigger problems, the final repair may cost more than you can afford at the moment, so you won’t be able to drive the car. Make sure never to push the boundaries of your vehicle if the issue is considerable because you risk getting into a serious accident that could damage the vehicle permanently.

Final considerations

Cars are among the world’s most useful inventions, but they’re not easy to maintain for a lifetime, so problems can occur frequently. Therefore, it’s best to learn to analyse the vehicle’s signs of an issue and take it to the mechanic before it’s too late.

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