If you want to ensure your car delivers optimal performance and is always safe for your family, have it serviced regularly. Knowing how often to service a car can prevent your vehicle from needing major repair. Knowing when to service your car if you think something is wrong can help keep you and your vehicle safe even if you don’t know much about the problem. The following are some of the main signs that indicate you should book your car for servicing.
Cars have many different warning lights. Knowing what to do when a warning light comes on requires knowing what each one means. The warning light’s colour lets you know if the problem is serious. Green, blue or white warning lights usually means a system is on or operating automatically. When an orange light comes on, it means the system should be monitored. A red light means immediate attention must be given to a specific part or system.
A car’s strange noises usually mean a problem exists. Below are some of the common odd noises you can hear from a car and what they signal:
– Low-pitched hum when turning means wheel bearing problems.
– Droning noises getting louder when accelerating can be tire problems.
– High-pitched squealing noises when starting the engine can mean serpentine belt or air conditioning belt issues.
– High-pitched whines signal hydraulic power steering system issues.
– Low-pitched clunking or rattling when driving over bumps may mean suspension issues.
– Hearing a squeaking or a grinding noise can be brake pad problems.
– Rumbling noises when cars are idling signal exhaust system issues. Wobbling noises could mean wheel or tire problems.
The colour of a fluid leak lets you know where it is from. Green or bright orange fluid is an antifreeze leak. Leaks smelling like gas are from gas tanks, fuel pumps or fuel lines. Yellowish-brown, dark brown or black fluids are oil leaks. Yellowish, thick, oily leaks might be brake fluid. Light red or brownish, thick, oily fluids are automatic transmission fluid leaks. Power steering fluid leaks look reddish or yellowish and make steering your car harder. Windshield washer fluid leaks are blue, green or orange, thin and watery. Water under your car on hot days is condensation from your air conditioning system and is not something you usually need to worry about.
Smoke under the hood could mean fluids, including motor oil, is leaking on the hot engine or exhaust system. The colour smoke coming from the tailpipe means different things. White smoke is usually water vapour from a coolant leak, cracked engine block or blown head gasket. Blue smoke means oil is in the combustion chamber or clogged turbo blower. Grey smoke means a transmission fluid, turbocharger or oil leak. Black smoke means your car is burning too much gas because of air filter or fuel injector problems.
Weaker Brakes or Acceleration
Weak acceleration can mean faulty sensors, fuel or air distribution issues, integrated circuit issues in the car’s computer. Weak braking can signal hydraulic braking system problems or brake fade caused by worn brake pads or rotors.
Common reasons cars lose acceleration power are clogged air, fuel or particle filters or catalytic converter. Malfunctioning Mass Air Flow or oxygen sensors can also cause it. Faulty fuel injectors, fuel pump or turbocharger or low cylinder compression, can cause power loss.
Servicing your car is not only limited to the what is wedged underneath the front bonnet, such as your engine bay, but also considers the overall well-being of your vehicle, which includes the outside aesthetics. Not taking care of the car exterior can be just as expensive as the interior mechanical issues if left unattended. Avoid being stuck on the road because you ignore the ‘service checklist’ of your car. It’s not too late to have your car checked by a mechanic rather than call somebody for help to tow your vehicle when your car is totally busted. Worst case scenario is when your car is wrecked due to an accident – if that happens, there are a lot of car wreckers in Melbourne that you can call for help.
Leaving a car dirty can speed up aging and reduce the safety of the vehicle. Knowing how dirt and other contaminants can cause damage to your car and addressing the main causes can help keep the car safe on the road. For example, driving with heavily oxidised headlights or dirty windows can hinder your vision during rainy weather whilst driving. The last thing you would want to do, is to take your eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel to wipe the windows. Accidents of this nature can often be overlooked and underestimated.
One of the main culprits of contamination is dirt since it is so abundant. Though during rains, some of the dirt may wash off, but, many forget to realise that rain itself contains dust/dirt particles inside. So, when all else dries the following day, you are left with heavy water stain marks that have etched on to your clear coat paintwork. Even worse are insects, the hard body shells would act like stones or pebbles that will scrape into the paint deep enough to ruin the surface – handle with care and use the right automotive shampoos to treat them. Using a machine polish by an experienced car detailer should be able to make easy work of such circumstances, assuming that the scratch is not too deep.
Bird Droppings, Bug Guts and Tree Sap
Not only are these environmental contaminants gross, bug guts, bird poop and tree sap are highly acidic. Because of their acidic nature, they can cause severe damage to your car’s paint, which can result in permanent and expensive repairs. Leaving these on your car’s exterior for a long period of time can be very problematic as it can penetrate beyond the vehicle’s clear coat and cause damage and sticks to the actual paint. If you are not well-versed in car care and you try to remove it without the proper care, the paint can be removed too during the process. Finally, leaving you a larger bill to fork out for a touch up or respray service.
Breaking Through The Clear Coat
Now that modern vehicles exterior coatings are made up of a primer, a coloured coating of paint, and a protective clear coat. The dangers of breaking through the layer of your vehicles clear coat, is that your vehicles paint is going to age a whole lot faster. The purpose of the clear coat is to protect the underlying coloured base coat which is the paint, from direct sunlight or from the UV light and physical damage so the vehicle paint condition will stay the same of a number of years. Once the protective layer (Clear Coat) is removed, the paint or the color coat will eventually fade from heat, UV, and light exposure – very prone in hot temperatures. The primer is technically designed to adhere on to the metal and provide a surface for the paint. If this is exposed, it will draw in moisture which can cause further damage to the car’s paint. This is where a ceramic coating may prove to be an ideal solution to maintain your paintwork as a means of preventative measures.
Knowing when to service your car and how often to service a car can prevent the common problems above and keep the car service price down. If your car has any issue listed above, immediately consult a car repair professional. Prompt action can lower your car service price and really preserve the market value of your car in the long term.
Car Care Advice For The Everyday Driver & Enthusiast
As a seasoned author on our team, Chester also known as ‘Gadget’, for his love for all things mechanical, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, particularly when it comes to automotive topics.