How To Know When Your Car’s Engine Needs Attention

November 13th, 2015 by

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In a culture such as ours, that depends so heavily on our vehicles for daily activities, it is so necessary we never underestimate it’s well being. Like our bodies respond to good and bad behaviors, so do our cars.

It’s important we listen and learn the signs our car is giving us to ensure safety and longevity of our valued and most often, expensive vehicles. These are, after all, what we rely on to provide safe transport for our loved ones. Shouldn’t we take the extra time and consideration to make sure it’s running safely and properly?

Often referred to as the ‘heart’ of an automobile, the engine works at a steady pace or rhythm the same way our heart does. If it’s out of sync or not working properly, it will deliver signs to let you know. The best way to keep your car out of an engine repair shop is to know what to be looking out for.

Know the Sounds, Smells and Feeling of Your Car

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No, I’m not saying that your car has feelings in the same way you do, but you know how it feels when you’re driving. Every car drives and handles differently and you’ll know this when you get a new car or drive someone else’s. You’ll notice whether you have to be lighter on the brakes, or if the steering is touchy, or if you feel every bump and pebble in the road. The more you drive your vehicle, you become more in-tune with its performance. Therefore, you’ll be more inclined to tell if something is wrong.

Loud or unfamiliar noises are a key indicator something is wrong. Clunking sounds may indicate loose or broken parts while popping sounds may signify premature detonation of fuel in the combustion chamber. If you’re hearing grinding noises, either you need to learn to drive a manual, or your transmission is in need for a check up. Whatever the noise, it’s best to take your car to professionals who can accurately detect the “where” and “what” to fix it.

Likewise, any jerking or stalling that your car is doing is telling you that something is wrong. If it seems to be responding strangely, or not at all to your actions that is a sure sign that it needs to be taken to a repair shop and the engine needs to be looked at. With problems ranging from fouled spark plugs to clogged fuel lines, it’s best to have it checked by a professional rather than compromise yours or other’s safety.

Lethargic Performance May Mean Your Car is Sick

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If your car is having trouble performing the way it used to, getting up to speed or you notice that its experience a decline in miles per gallon, there is likely an engine problem that needs to be addressed. There may be a slew of problems, or it could be just one issue that needs solving. Regardless, waiting till something breaks or stops working altogether is a bad idea.

Any lack in performance is another sign that your car is need of care and ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, it’ll just make it worse. Take your car into a repair shop immediately. They will have the proper tools to diagnose what is causing your car’s less than exciting performance.

If they cannot fix the problem for you, an engine repair shop will be able to point you in the direction of a specialty shop that will be able to fix your car and have it performing like it should.

Learning the Colors of Your Exhaust

A very common sign of internal engine trouble is excessive exhaust smoke which will generally come from the tailpipe and will be tinted a certain color. From the color of the exhaust, you’ll be able to roughly tell what the problem likely is.

Blue Exhaust – This generally indicates an oil leak inside the motor. Burning motor oil turns into blue smoke. An oil leak means that oil isn’t getting to all the places in your engine to ensure it running properly. Therefore, your engine is running without its lubrication and sustenance which can lead to much great engine problems. These problems can become quite expensive very quickly.

Black Exhaust – Black exhaust will occur if you car is burning too much gasoline. Being as conscious as we all are these days about fuel economy and not wasting any extra gas, you can see why this problem presents multiple concerns You will notice this problem not just from the black exhaust smoke, but from your mpg’s rising unexpectedly. Your car’s fuel consumption will rise so gradually, but quickly which in turn will end up costing you way more at the fuel pumps contributing to certain frustration, but it will inevitably cause larger problems inside your engine.

White Exhaust – White exhaust is the result of a cooling system leak. Coolant that is leaked into the engine burns, smells and can be identified by puffy white smoke coming out of the muffler.

Check Engine Light: Why You Should Appreciate It

Probably the worst words you can hear or say when you turn your car is “My check engine light is on?!” No one enjoys seeing that little light pop up because it always comes at the worst time, not that there is a ‘good’ time to spend more money on your car. Before you worry yourself, it’s best to remember that light exists to save you time and money. Don’t believe me? Think for a second about what life was like before ‘check engine lights’.

While you see it as an annoyance, which, I understand, this is your car’s very specific and deliberate way of telling you something is wrong. It’s your car’s mode of communication with you. It is a literal sign that something isn’t right, and it must be fixed. Of course, we see this light come on and we are now conditioned to think “ugh, more money?!” But what if that light didn’t exist and we didn’t know something was wrong so we carry on until whatever it was that was wrong is now broken and almost ruined, or possibly did ruin, the entire engine!

The dreaded check engine light is a way to prevent that from happening. It’s the car’s smart way of communicating prevention. So, next time your check engine light comes on, try to be thankful that have auto manufacturers looking out for the betterment of our car’s running and safety of our loved ones.

Prevention: Keeping Your Car In Top Condition

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When we purchase a big ticket item we want to see the value in our purchase. It only makes sense. That’s why when a car’s performance starts to deteriorate or even lessen, it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible.

Our cars, especially these days, are made to keep the driver informed of its condition at all times whether it’s letting us know the tire pressure is low or it’s the check engine light coming on, they are computers hardwired to keep us up to date on how it’s running.

Prevention is another key factor in ensuring a healthy running engine. Keeping current with oil changes and making sure we’re cleaning out our systems with regular maintenance and check- ups gives you the expectation that your car will run well for as long as you are taking good care of it.