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    10 signs your car needs a service

    When to take it in for a check before you hit the road

    Hannah | Oneflare

    Your car is your road to freedom, so when your vehicle starts making funny noises, unfamiliar lights appear on the dashboard, brakes are becoming less responsive or smoke is appearing from underneath the bonnet, it is a sure sign that your car needs to be serviced. To avoid a surprise breakdown and expensive repairs we have identified the top ten warning signs that your car needs to be serviced by a qualified mechanic.

    1. Engine warning light

    The appearance of warning lights on your car’s dashboard should not be ignored. Car warning lights are programmed to light up when there is an issue with the area of the vehicle that they are monitoring. There are many different warning lights that will indicate a number of different problems, from battery issues, security alert, lamp out, oil pressure warning, reduced power warning and more. However, the one warning light that you must never ignore is the Engine Light. Should the Engine Light be showing it is important to take your car to a garage to be serviced immediately. Failure to do so may result in breakdowns and expensive repairs.

    If you see or hear a warning sign, it’s important to have you vehicle checked for roadworthiness / Source: Premium Mechanical Services

    2. Funny noises

    Unusual noises, such as squeals and squeaks coming from your car can be an indication of problems with the fan belt, braking system or power steering fluid. The main noises to listen out for and what issues they indicate are:

    • Highly pitched squeals: heard when the ignition is turned on is indicative that the fan belt is either worn or loose
    • Squealing as brakes are applied: can be a sign that you need new brake pads or that dirt or bits of rock have ended up in the braking system
    • Squealing while driving: A squealing noise apparent whilst driving is a sign that your car tires may need to re-balanced, or that you need to replace your power steering fluid

    3. Emissions of Smoke

    Unusual emissions of smoke either from the exhaust or from under the bonnet of the car must be checked out. Black smoke from the exhaust can be signs of an oil leak, blockages and build-up of carbon in the system. Smoke from under the bonnet can be a sign that the car radiator isn’t working properly.

    Strange vibrations are often a sign of problems such as worn or unbalanced tires, worn brake discs or pads, suspension issues or a problem with the steering system. It is strongly advised not to guess the root of the problem yourself and to instruct the services of a professional auto-mechanic as soon as you can.

    4. Strange vibrations

    5. Unresponsive brakes

    The brakes on your vehicle go through a great deal of wear and tear, it is therefore extremely important to recognise any changes in the sensitivity and responsiveness of your brakes. If you notice any changes take your car to a garage to ensure your safety.

    6. Stalling

    Sudden stalling, even if you’re in the right gear, can indicate a fault with your engine. The stalling can be caused by clogged fuel filters or faulty spark plugs. Find a garage as a matter of urgency if you are experiencing these issues.

    Your car should be checked by a professional if you see a warning sign / Source: All States Australia Mobile Mechanics and Auto Electricians Pty Ltd

    7. Ignition issues

    If you find it takes numerous attempts to get your car engine going, or your car coughs and splutters as you try to drive off this is likely to be a sign of faulty ignition. Ignition faults can be caused by a number of problems including a faulty starter motor or a dying battery.

    8. Grinding gears

    Grinding gears are often a simple indication of wear and tear, and will need to be fixed. Your chosen mechanic may replace parts of the gearbox, along with replenishing transmission fluids. The good news about gearbox issues is that they can be identified and fixed early, saving the driver costly repairs in the future.

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    9. Decrease in power

    A decrease in the power of your car, such as your vehicle struggling to reach its full speed potential, sudden surges of power or a full tank of petrol doesn’t take you as far as it used to, indicate that you should get your car checked over. Things such as incorrect tyre pressure can also cause a decrease in power but can be avoided if you have a high-quality tyre pressure gauge.

    10. Steering

    If you’re experiencing issues with your vehicle pulling to one side, even when you are in a neutral position, this is an indicator that something is wrong with your car steering.  This is often caused as a result of a broken steering rack mounts or worn ball joints. If you finding that your steering wheel is very stiff this can also be a sign that you don’t have the right amount of air in your car tyres, or that you need to adjust the amount of power steering fluid.

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