Top Signs Your Car Needs Professional Attention

Regular maintenance can go a long way in ensuring the longevity and reliability of your vehicle, but there will likely come a day when you’ll need to get repairs. If the issue is subtle, you may be tempted to put it off—but this could cause the problem to worsen and lead to a more expensive repair. Quickly addressing signs of car trouble also prevents potential breakdowns and accidents and preserves your resale value. With that in mind, here are some common signs you don’t want to ignore.

Sudden Decrease in Gas Mileage

A sudden drop in fuel efficiency is a clear sign that something in your vehicle isn’t performing as it should. There are a number of issues that can cause your mileage to decrease, including:

  • A faulty oxygen sensor or clogged engine air filter can impact the air-fuel mixture the engine receives and make it run less efficiently.
  • Worn or misfiring spark plugs can cause incomplete combustion, resulting in poor performance and lower fuel efficiency.
  • Dirty, defective, or leaking fuel injectors or issues with the fuel pump can disrupt the air-fuel mixture, causing sluggish acceleration, power loss, and fuel inefficiency.
  • A stuck brake caliper (if your vehicle is pulling to one side) can create unnecessary resistance on the wheels, which increases fuel consumption.
  • Incorrect tire pressure or misalignment affects how your tires make contact with the road, resulting in increased rolling resistance and reduced fuel efficiency.

Keep in mind that your driving habits also affect gas mileage. Think about whether you’ve recently been driving more aggressively, frequently revving the engine, or spending a lot of time idling. If nothing has changed with your driving habits, it’s time to bring your car into the repair shop.

Excessive or Unusual Vibrations

Although it’s common to feel some degree of vibration while you drive (especially on rough or uneven roads), excessive or unusual vibration is a cause for concern. One of the most common culprits is wheel imbalance, but it can also be caused by:

  • Worn or damaged tires
  • Bent or damaged wheels
  • Faulty wheel bearings
  • Brake problems such as warped rotors
  • Faulty or worn shock components
  • Driveshaft issues, particularly in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles
  • Engine issues
  • Damaged exhaust components

Noisy Steering

Squealing, grinding, or stiffness when turning your steering wheel are often caused by power steering fluid leaks or low fluid levels in general. However, noisy steering can also be caused by other issues in the steering or suspension system such as:

  • A worn or damaged power steering belt
  • A faulty power steering pump  
  • Suspension issues
  • Worn tires

Fluid Leaks

It probably goes without saying, but all automotive fluids should stay in your vehicle with the exception of pure water which is caused by condensation from the air conditioning system. Any drips, puddles, or stains under your vehicle should be inspected and fixed right away. This includes:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Coolant
  • Brake and power steering fluid
  • Differential oil

While minor leaks might seem harmless, they can quickly escalate into major, expensive problems if not addressed promptly. Low fluid levels can lead to overheating, component wear, reduced performance, and even engine or transmission failure.

Noisy Brakes

Brake noises, like squealing or squeaking, are usually a sign you need to replace your brake pads. If you hear rattling, grinding, or other alarming sounds, it’s best to have the issue checked out right away. You may have a warped rotor, worn pads, or there could be a piece of road debris trapped inside the brake components.

Slow Changing Gears

When you change gears, the response from your car should be immediate. If you notice pauses between shifting or abrupt jerks when shifting from park to drive, don’t wait—schedule an appointment to have your transmission inspected ASAP. Transmission repairs can be very expensive, so it’s always best to take care of them before they escalate into major problems.

Dashboard Warning Lights

Modern vehicles are equipped with a variety of warning lights; while some of them may not indicate urgent issues, all of them are worth paying attention to and addressing sooner rather than later. Here are a few that should always be addressed right away:

  • Check engine light
  • Brake warning light
  • ABS warning light
  • Oil pressure warning light
  • Coolant temperature warning light
  • Battery warning light
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warning light
  • Traction Control warning light

Need Repairs? Contact Accurate Automotive Attention!

Paying attention to warning lights, strange noises, vibrations, decreased performance or fuel efficiency, leaks, and handling issues can help you identify when your car needs professional attention. Not only can recognizing the signs of car trouble and addressing it quickly save you money, but it also prevents further damage—and helps maintain your car’s value. So, don’t be tempted to put off those seemingly minor problems!

At Accurate Automotive Attention, we’re committed to helping you have a safe, reliable vehicle for years to come. Our ASE-certified technicians offer everything you need to keep your vehicle in excellent shape, including oil changes, brake repairs, transmission repairs, suspension repairs, and more.

In addition to our comprehensive repairs and maintenance, we also provide 24-hour in-house towing services, free local courtesy rides, and a 3-year/36,000-mile nationwide warranty on all repairs. If you’ve been searching for an auto repair shop in Central Yuma or the Foothills, schedule an appointment with us today! 

Want more great advice on saving money on car repairs? Order Russell McCloud’s book Knowledge is Power by clicking here.