Just like we take care of our body and make efforts to keep it in shape and healthy for longer life, our car also needs regular maintenance to keep it healthy and in condition for longer life.
Regular car servicing is vital to maintaining the quality and quantity of the life of a car. Every car manufacturer specifies the periodic intervals at which the car should be serviced for good care. However, in our hectic lives, where we sometimes don�t even find time to maintain our bodies, we ignore the warning signs when our car indicates that it might need servicing. This is especially true if the car is working fine, and we skip those servicing schedules and postpone the servicing until a need arises. However, even if we neglect the regular scheduled car servicing, the car can indicate to us that servicing is warranted through some tale-tell signs. So, what are these? Let us take a look.
Every car has indicators on the dashboard. Futuristic cars illuminate the lights on the meter, which indicates that the engine needs to be checked or that something is malfunctioning and the vehicle needs to be serviced. Some modern cars have a spanner sign that illuminates the car that needs servicing. So if the yellow light that suggests car servicing is required is illustrated on the dashboard, do not ignore it. This may be the first sign that the car needs servicing, and ignoring it might prove more dangerous for the car. Sometimes the lights indicate failure of the performance of the system they are monitoring, which could be something simple or more complicated. But rather than trying to figure it out on our own or ignoring it, it is best to hand it in the hands of experts who can determine the exact problem and troubleshoot the same well in time. If one is unaware of what the dashboard indicators or lights mean, the manual of the car gives all the information about the same. Otherwise, a mechanic is the best person to figure out what is wrong and why the dashboard light is flashing.
With the evolution of the braking system, most modern-day cars have an automatic braking system, collision avoidance systems, and anti-lock braking for smooth and efficient operation. Brake pads, rotors and brake fluid are wear and tear items and need regular servicing and maintenance. So, if you begin experiencing problems with brakes, such as transmitted vibrations while braking, or squealing sounds, it indicates something is wrong with the braking system and needs to be fixed. Sometimes the brakes might become too rigid and offer more resistance than usual, so excessive force must be applied to get the otherwise smooth result of slowing down the car. Other times, the brake might become soft, spongy, less sensitive and more unresponsive and wouldn�t work until you press it down to the floor. These are the times when the problem should not be ignored, and servicing should be prioritised to fix the brakes and anything else that may be wrong with the car.
If you realise that your car is frequently stalling, or if you need more power to generate the same amount of momentum as was possible with lesser power, it indicates that the car's efficiency has been reduced and that the car needs servicing. This stalling can be experienced more so while navigating through traffic, travelling along stretches of highways or traversing hilly regions. The problem could be with the spark plug, the fuel injection system, or the catalytic converter. Whatever the issue is, it is best dealt with by the experts. If ignored once, the stalling might increase in frequency while changing gears, indicating that getting the car serviced should be your priority.
Any abnormal noise or sound emanating from a car should raise a red flag in the driver's mind. The most important questions to be addressed are when the sounds come, what they sound like, and where they may be coming from. An overheated engine might give a hissing sound from under the bonnet. A high-pitched squealing noise while turning on the ignition might indicate a loose and worn-out cambelt. Squeaking brakes may indicate problems with the brake pads. Scraping noises might indicate the sound of two car parts rubbing against each other due to friction. There could be a problem with either one or both of these parts. Squealing while turning the steering wheel at a low speed can indicate a low power steering fluid level. But all said and done, it is always best to let the experts deal with the issue rather than trying to procrastinate the servicing and ignore the sounds and noises. So any abnormal noise or sound from the car indicates that the car is in desperate need of service.
Water leaking from a car can be either due to condensation from the air conditioner units, especially in the summer season, or it could be leaking from the exhaust, especially in the winter season. Leaking water is a simple problem and can be fixed relatively easily. However, if a coloured fluid drips from the car, it is a pointer towards a more serious issue that needs attention and immediate rectification. It could be anything, from power steering fluid to oil to brake fluid, especially if it is brown. In such a case, the car must be given for servicing immediately to solve the issue. Without trying to figure out what the fluid is and where it is dripping from, it is better to let the experts check it out and fix it.
Smoke and fumes coming from the car are a sign that the car needs servicing. It is essential to check where the smoke or fumes are coming from, what the colour is, and whether they come constantly or only at a particular time. These pointers can help a mechanic determine the cause and troubleshoot accordingly during servicing. Worn-out engine oil seals, head gasket failure, worn valve seals, etc. can cause smoke or fumes. Many times smoke can be because by overheating of the car. It could also be due to issues with the radiator. Whatever the reason for the smoke or fumes, it is better to fix it in time than to allow the problem to magnify and create more significant issues for the car. If smoke or fumes emanate from the car while you are on the road, staying calm and contacting the nearest car servicing service is better. It is better to tow such a car to the nearest service station rather than taking the risk of driving it, as the smoke could be because of burning oil, and the entire affair can prove very expensive.
Another indication a car may give that it desperately needs servicing is abnormal vibrations or juddering of the car. The vibrations may be felt only at a certain speed, or they can be supposed throughout the journey. The vibrations can be felt only at the steering wheel or through the car's entire body. There can be several reasons why a vehicle, which gave a smooth ride before, suddenly starts vibrating or juddering. The reasons can be many, such as worn-out friction material, defect with the pressure plate or an oil leak which can contaminate the clutch plate. There can be other issues like a tyre on the verge of going flat, failing universal joints etc. Whatever the reason, abnormal vibrations or juddering of a car should be taken as a red flag, and the car should be given for service at the earliest possible. Again, an expert is the right person to figure out what is wrong with the car and fix it.
With regular driving, we are used to attaining a certain speed at a certain level of acceleration. However, one of the first signs that a car needs servicing is that the acceleration becomes sluggish and slow in response to the same amount of pressing of the accelerator compared to its performance before. This can be noted while climbing uphill or going up a slope, overtaking a vehicle, or driving along a highway. Either way, a sudden change in the car's performance once running smoothly indicates that the vehicle needs servicing. Similarly, if the car begins having trouble starting at the beginning of the day, it indicates that servicing is warranted and at the earliest possible.
Just like the braking system, the gearbox is also a system that undergoes regular wear and tears. A car which had a smooth transition in shifting between different gears before and now begins showing a kind of inertia when moved from one gear to another, or from driving to reverse gears or vice versa, needs to be looked at by an expert mechanic as this is one indicator that the smooth mechanism is about to fail or falter at the very least. Gearbox problems may also be squealing while shifting gears or leakage of transmission fluid. An automatic car might also show changes in the general smoothness while switching the automatic modes, and the driver is the best judge to conclude whether or not the gears are working the way they should.
When you are a regular car user, you generally know what mileage your car yields on average. Suppose you feel that your visits to fill the fuel tank are becoming more frequent for the same routine commute or that your car is yielding fewer kilometres than what it used to deliver within the same amount of fuel input. In that case, the car needs servicing to determine the sudden mileage or fuel output deterioration.
In times like these, when a car gives warning signs that it demands service, the car's manual can come handy. It contains all types of information about the problems that can arise with a vehicle. Solutions for simple issues can also be found in the manufacturer�s manual. But again, just like we cannot google a disease and treat ourselves from the vast information available on the internet, and ultimately need to get examined, investigated and treated by an authentic doctor who is the original person to troubleshoot the problems with our health, same goes for a car. When the car gives any of the above signs, it is in the car's best interest and us to show it to an authentic expert who can check the problem, diagnose it, and fix it. To summarise, when your car gives an indication, make servicing the car your priority for a healthy and long car life.