Vehicles are extremely complicated machines, and any number of parts can malfunction. In a society that relies so heavily on their vehicles for work and recreation, an unexpected breakdown can spell disaster. However, increasing numbers of car owners are neglecting routine maintenance and ignoring the common signs of a need for engine repair that could leave them stranded and with huge repair bills.
Getting the most out of your vehicle means keeping it in the best shape possible, and that requires knowing and acting on important warning signs that your vehicle needs engine repair or maintenance. If you want to avoid the inconvenience of a breakdown, take your vehicle in to your auto repair shop when you notice any of these signs of engine problems.
That pesky “check engine” light is hard to miss, but many people do not take it as seriously as they should, especially if the light is not identifying a specific problem. Warning lights are connected to a sensitive computer with sensors monitoring important engine processes. Warning lights can signify problems that range form the relatively minor to very serious, and ignoring the light will only lead to greater problems.
Tapping, Clicking, Clunking Sounds
If your engine starts making loud and unfamiliar noises, it could be a sign of significant engine problems. Clunking sounds may indicate loose or broken parts, popping noises might signify premature detonation of fuel in the combustion chamber, and grinding might mean transmission trouble, for example. When you hear strange noises, it's always best to let your repair shop track down the problem as soon as possible.
Jerking, Surging, Stalling
Driving should be smooth and free of lurching and stalling. If your vehicle is responding strangely, it's a pretty strong sign that you have engine problems. Whether it's due to clogged fuel lines, fouled spark plugs or any of a number of other problems, ignoring the issue can put you in the danger zone.
Bad or Unusual Smells
All vehicles emit smells, but when the smells are unusual or make it into the passenger compartment, it's an important sign you need some sort of engine repair. Sometimes it might be something as minor as worn or loose belts. Other times it could be exhaust that contains dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide. Don't take any chances and get your vehicle checked out by a technician immediately.
Even if you believe your engine is in relatively good shape, ignoring these signs of problems can lead to even more costly engine repairs. Have your automotive shop take a look and keep your car fit for the road.