Your car might be your unofficial “baby” that you care for like one of the family; or it could be the “beat up old bomb” that you only use to get you from A to B. Regardless of how much, or how little, you care for your car, if you want it to run efficiently and safely – you need to get it serviced regularly.
Check the manufacturer’s guidelines in the manual to find out how often you need to get your car serviced. Usually it is minor service every six months – that includes changing the oil and filters. Every 12 months you want your mechanic to also check your brakes, bearings and electronics.
If you can’t remember the last time you had your car serviced, you should be able to check either your log book, or the sticker on the top right of the driver’s side window. Most mechanics leave a sticker there to remind you when you need to get the car serviced again. Some cars even have a light on the dash that comes on when you are next due for a service. It looks like a spanner and shouldn’t be ignored for too long.
Can’t find any of these? Here are some sure signs you should probably head to the mechanics:
Your check engine light is on. The bonus of modern cars is that many of them are electronic so there are more lights than a Christmas tree; but which lights do you take notice of? If the yellow light on your dash comes on, take yourself to the mechanic as soon as possible. Problems with the engine are easily the most dangerous.
You’re hearing things. If your exhaust is overbearingly loud or the sound lasts longer than usual, it could be a sign there is a problem with your pipe, such as a crack or a hole. If the car whistles at you, this is related to the timing or fan belt, which could be loose. Your brakes are screaming at you? Worn brake pads. If the engine is misfiring or making strange noises – it could need spark plugs replaced, or there could be something more serious wrong. If your gears are crunching, something needs replacing. Basically if there are any sounds coming from your car that aren’t normally there – get yourself to the mechanic. It’s better safe than sorry.
Your car starts smoking. Terrible habit to have, particularly for your car, and though it’s a pretty obvious one, some people would be inclined to ignore it. Just remember, where there’s smoke, there’s fire! So don’t take the risk. If you notice smoke, stop the car right out, get out and organize to get it towed to the nearest garage.
There’s some strange liquid under the car. Could be an oil leak, water dripping from somewhere or coolant. Check the color. Bright green is usually coolant, dark red or brown is engine or transmission oil, and clear is usually just a sign of water (which is harmless and a result of the air conditioner).