5 Signs That Your Car Needs A Service

Do you know when a quirk in your car requires immediate attention? 

Sometimes these things need to be sorted out as soon as possible in order to avoid a hazardous breakdown and potentially expensive repair.   

In order to do so, your car needs to be serviced regularly. 

You can refer to the manufacturer’s handbook to find out how often. 

The right time to service a car is normally in mileage or within a specified time period – whichever comes first.  

You should also pay attention to the following 5 signs that mean that your car is in desperate need of a service. 


1. Warning Lights 

Modern cars have all sorts of electronic detection technology that should tell you when your car is in trouble. 

If the “check engine” light comes on, this could be the sign of a multitude of problems with the car’s engine. You need to get it to a garage as soon as possible. 

Some newer cars have a service warning light that will turn on when the next service is due. 

For the LED lighting electricians at Smart and Fast Electrical, it’s easy to take your work vehicle for granted. “Because we rely on our cars for work, it’s important to err on the side of caution and get your car checked out if something unknown starts to happen. Punctual services will help maintain your car for longer, save you bigger hassles down the line and won’t disrupt your work.”

This service light, normally in the form of a spanner, does not require immediate attention but you shouldn’t ignore it for too long.  

Car dashboard engine light flashing


2. Odd Noises  

Any noise that is coming from your car that is strange or unfamiliar could signal a serious problem. 

Some of the sounds that you need to keep an ear out for include:

  • Whining Sound From Beneath the Bonnet – Normally this is a sign of a loose belt that can result in the car overheating or problems with the battery. 
  • Loud Exhaust Noise or Bangs – A crack or hole in the exhaust could be the cause and is normally simple to repair. However, it could result in the exhaust falling off so it is a good idea to have it checked out quickly. 
  • Inconsistent Engine Noise – When you car is idle and the engine stutters or growls, it could mean that the engine is misfiring and needs immediate attention. It could need a simple repair like replacing spark plugs but could be something more serious like the engine having trouble managing the air/fuel mixture. 
  • Metal Grinding on Metal – Any grinding or scraping noises probably come from a broken part of the car rubbing against another part and should be checked out immediately to prevent further damage to either part. 
  • Squealing Brakes – When you step on the brakes and there is a screeching or squealing noise, it normally indicates that the brake pads are worn. 
  • Crunching Gears – The gearbox is especially prone to wear and tear and fluids as well as parts often need replacing. If you hear a crunching or grinding noise when changing gears, your car needs a service. 


3. Steam Or Smoke From Beneath The Bonnet 

Man opening car bonnet on the phone after car broke down

If you notice steam or smoke coming from beneath the bonnet, check the temperature gauge. 

If it is on maximum, pull over immediately. Be aware that the gauge may be malfunctioning so it is probably a good idea to pullover anyway.  

White steam usually means that the car is overheating. 

Your car may simply need water or the radiator could not be functioning properly or another more serious failure such as the head gasket could be the cause. 

While you may not be in any immediate danger, it is a good idea to allow the car to cool down and check the water level. 

If it doesn’t need water, get to a service station as soon as possible. 

If you see blue smoke coming from under the bonnet, pull over as soon as it safe to do so. 

Do not attempt to restart the engine and get the car towed to a garage. 

This blue smoke is normally the result of oil burning and can be a very expensive issue if not dealt with immediately. 

Blue smoke coming from the exhaust could also signify an oil leak and that your car needs to be serviced. 

Smoke from beneath the bonnet could be caused by: 

  • Worn pistons or piston rings 
  • Wear on valve seals 
  • A gas leak in the intake manifold 
  • Wear on engine oil seals 
  • Failure of the head gasket 


4. Vibrations Or Pulling While Braking 

This can be caused by worn brake pads or discs, problems with the suspension or an issue with the steering. 

It could also signal that your tyres are worn or misaligned. 

Check the tread on your tyres – if it is less than the minimum requirement of 1.6mm, your tyres need to be changed. Also check for uneven wear on any of the tyres. 

According to the Credit Capital car loan specialists, your safety is paramount. “It’s unsafe to drive under conditions, where your brakes or tyres aren’t up to standard. Neglecting to address these things not only puts yourself in danger, but also puts one of your biggest purchases jeopardy of costing you even more money than it needs to.” 

Mechanic servicing car


5. An Uncomfortable Ride 

If you are being jolted and bounced around in your car, if it is riding low or you can hear the tyres scraping along the wheel arch, you need to get it checked out. 

These are normally problems with the suspension of the car. 

These are only 5 of the signs that your car is in need of a service. 

However, to ensure that your car is in optimal running condition and to avoid unnecessary repairs down the line, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and have your car serviced regularly.