Obviously, when your check engine light comes on, you know you might have an automotive issue that requires professional attention. There are other very clear signs like flat tires, an overheating engine, a car that won't start, a transmission that won't shift into a certain gear, and more. When you experience these, there's no doubt you have a significant problem worth taking to a mechanic for a proper diagnosis and repairs.
However, what about the little things that aren't quite as obvious? How can you detect minor issues before they develop into major automotive problems? Well, this is where you can lean on four of your five senses. We're talking about hearing, feeling, smelling and seeing. Taste shouldn't come into play, and please don't put any auto parts in your mouth for any reason!
As for the other four senses, they can actually tell you a lot about the health and performance of your vehicle. The more in tune you are with how your car or truck is running, the better you will be able to sense when something isn't right. Let's look at some examples:
Weird sounds are usually the easiest to notice when you are driving. Screeching and squealing are common indicators of brake issues. Humming might be coming a bad wheel bearing. Clunks, rattling and grinding sounds could be signs of transmission or exhaust problems. Loose and damaged fan belts will let you know with clear audible signals. Basically, if you hear a strange noise coming from your car, it is probably something worth getting checked out by someone who can identify the source and make the necessary repairs.
Something Doesn't Feel Right
Your sense of touch and feel can also tell you quite a lot, especially the more you drive a particular vehicle and know how it feels when everything is running smoothly. Perhaps your vehicle feels unusually sluggish when you accelerate. This could be an engine problem, a transmission issue or something wrong with the fuel system. Vibrations are common with transmission, suspension and exhaust system problems. Maybe the vehicle is slow to stop when you press on the brake pedal or the pedal goes all the way to the floor with little resistance. These are signs that you may need new brake pads. If you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you can typically feel when it is not shifting into gear smoothly. You could be due for a transmission service or there could be another internal problem that needs to be addressed.
Your nose is also a factor in determining when you might have automotive issues. If you smell something burning, that's always cause for concern. You can usually tell if an automotive fluid needs to be changed if it has a burnt smell. When the exhaust fumes smell extra strong, that might be a sign of an exhaust leak or something else wrong with the exhaust system. Lastly, the inside of your vehicle may have a funky odor. It may be time to change your cabin air filter or get your air conditioning vents professionally cleaned.
If You See Something, Do Something
Last but certainly not least is your sense of sight. If you can visibly see a problem, then you'll want to deal with it as soon as you can. We're talking about any lights that are out, fluid leaks under the vehicle, smoke or steam coming from under the hood or from your wheels/tires, and any dashboard indicators that are literally telling you there is something you need to deal with.
Basically, if you see, smell, hear or feel something unusual when driving your car, truck or SUV, you should get it looked at sooner rather than later. You could catch a problem early and save yourself from the costs and hassles of major automotive repairs. The longer you wait, the more likely it develops into a bigger issue.
If you think you might have automotive problems and are in the Fairbanks area, you can count on the team at Simard Automotive to complete a thorough inspection and make the necessary repairs. Call either of our two local shops today at (855) 690-0889 (Aeronca Ave. Airport Shop) or (855) 639-5001 (Gaffney Rd. Chevron Shop). You can also book your service appointment online.