Dave Deslauriers /

5 Vehicle Warning Signs Not to Ignore

There is a lot that goes in to properly maintaining a vehicle. Things like oil changes, tire rotations, and tune ups are all just part of vehicle ownership. But no matter how well you follow the manufacturers recommended service schedule, there’s likely going to be unanticipated issues that pop up along the way. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 vehicle warning signs that you absolutely should not ignore.

Check Engine Light

This may seem obvious, but I can guarantee many of you have ignored this light at some point, much to the detriment of your vehicle. “An activated check engine light is a powerful tool that is designed to inform you of potential engine trouble. This light generally illuminates when detecting engine issues stemming from loss of power. These issues range in type, severity and implications to your vehicle. If your check engine light activates, we recommend getting an engine diagnostic service to determine the issue.

If your check engine light is flashing, we recommend stopping driving immediately and calling for a tow. A flashing light indicates that something potentially serious could be occurring within one of your vehicle’s systems.” (Pep Boys)

Excessive Smoke Coming from the Exhaust

Seeing smoke coming from your vehicle can be quite concerning. While a little smoke from the exhaust upon starting your engine is normal, if you happen to glance in your rear-view mirror and see a cloud of smoke unlike what you’re used to seeing, it may be time to have an expert take a closer look. “This could be an indication that you have an oil leak and you may also notice a burning smell. During the transition to cold winter months, you may notice a little more white smoke at first start. This is a normal reaction of water vapor coming from the exhaust system and should subside once the engine temperature increases.

But if you are driving and notice excessive smoke coming from the exhaust, or if you check the bumper area of your car near the exhaust pipe and see a black residue, take it into your mechanic at the next available appointment.” (Angie’s List)

Rough Shifts

Along with your engine, your transmission is one of the most important parts of your vehicle, and anything out of the ordinary needs to be taken very seriously. “Automatic transmissions take the work, and guesswork, out of shifting. They’re smooth, reliable and efficient – until they’re not. If your vehicle hesitates when shifting from reverse to drive or vice versa, if gear changes are rough or abrupt, if the vehicle is upshifting or downshifting sporadically and when you least expect it, or if it has trouble shifting into a higher gear as engine RPMs climb, your transmission needs attention. The gears that make your vehicle go depend on transmission fluid, filters and screens – all of which require periodic maintenance – for protection and a long life.” (Rich Ellis – DriverSide)

Vibrating or Pulling While Braking

Any abnormalities experienced, such as vibrating or pulling, when you press down on the brakes should be examined immediately. “This could be due to worn brake discs or pads, a suspension problem or an issue with your steering. It’s not safe to drive like this so get your car serviced as soon as possible. These symptoms could also be a sign of tire wear, so check that your tires have at least the minimum requirement of tire tread – 2/32” – and that they’re not wearing unevenly.” (Jess Shanahan – Confused)

Grinding Metal Noises

If you’re vehicle has ever made grinding metal noises, chances are you can still vividly remember the sound. It’s not pleasant, and not something that you should ignore. “There are a lot of different things that could be causing a grinding metal sound. It’s possible that your ride needs some brake service because the brake pad material has worn off, or maybe there’s an issue with something in the brake system (like the caliper). No matter what the cause is, the only way to know for certain and to get it fixed is to get some car maintenance ASAP. Ignoring the noise and the issues can lead to significant damage to the brakes, which can rack up a high bill.” (Toyota of Clermont)



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