No one likes to think that their car needs repairs, but the fact is that at some point or another, everyone will have to take their vehicle in for a tune-up or more serious work. The question is, when is the best time to do that? Is there a “best” time for certain types of repairs, or should you bring it in when you think something is wrong?

Before anything else, you should regularly bring your car in for maintenance. Your owner’s manual should have a “scheduled maintenance” section about recommended service intervals if you own a newer model with a digital dashboard. It would be best to ask your mechanic what types of services and how often your car will need them for older cars.

Generally, you should bring your car in for repairs whenever you see or feel something wrong with the vehicle. Here are some signs that it’s time to get your vehicle in for a checkup or repair.

1. When your car is making unusual noises

Unusual noises, such as grinding or clunking sounds when starting the car, shifting gears, turning corners, or applying the brakes, could indicate a problem with your car’s engine or transmission. Most car owners know their car’s normal sounds, so it’s probably time for a checkup if something doesn’t sound right.

2. When your car is pulling to one side or not tracking straight

If you feel like your car isn’t driving straight or is pulling to one side while driving, there could be an issue with your car’s alignment. This problem is more common after hitting a curb or pothole, but worn-out suspension components can also cause it. Differential problems can also cause your car to pull to one side.

3. When your check engine light is on

One of the most common dashboard lights is the check engine light, indicating a problem with your car’s engine, emission control system, or oxygen sensor. If this light comes on, check engine light services can help diagnose and determine the problem to repair your car and get it back to normal.

4. When your car is leaking fluids

If you see any fluid leaks under your vehicle, it’s essential to bring it in for service as soon as possible. Different fluids can indicate various problems, so a professional should check any fluid leak.

Common fluids that may leak include engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. These should be checked regularly and brought in when they become low.

5. When your car is running hot or overheating

The temperature gauge in your car tells you when it’s getting too hot. If that gauge shows that your vehicle is running at a higher temperature than usual, it could be a sign that there’s something wrong, such as a loose hose or faulty radiator.

You should stop driving your car as soon as possible and bring it in for service. An overheating car can cause severe damage to your engine, so it’s essential to get this problem taken care of as soon as possible.

A woman looking at the smoking engine of her car beside the road

6. When your car is losing power or having trouble accelerating

When you press the gas pedal, you expect your vehicle to gain speed. If your vehicle seems to be losing power or hesitating when accelerating, there might be an engine problem causing a misfire. Other signs of this problem include poor fuel economy, rough idling, or stalling. You should bring your car in for service if you notice any issues.

7. When the steering feels loose or unresponsive

If the steering in your car feels loose or unresponsive, it could indicate a problem with your power steering system. You might hear a whining noise or feel extra resistance when turning the wheel when this happens.

An improperly functioning steering wheel is a dangerous problem because it makes it harder to control your car, so you should bring it in for service as soon as possible.

8. When your brakes aren’t working properly

The brakes are one of the essential safety features of your car, so it’s crucial to make sure they are always in good working condition.

You should bring your vehicle in for service if you notice any issues, such as squealing noises when you press the brake pedal or a stiff feeling in the pedals. Always get your brakes checked at least once a year to ensure that they are working correctly and prevent car accidents.

9. When the tires are worn or damaged

Your tires play an essential role in the safety and performance of your car. Some tire problems, such as bald spots or cracks, can be caused by normal wear and tear. Others, such as bulges or cuts, can be caused by hitting a pothole or curb. It’s essential to get your tires checked regularly and replaced when necessary to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Your car is an essential piece of machinery, so it’s necessary to take care of it. When you notice something wrong, don’t wait – bring your car in for service to get it fixed as soon as possible. These common signs should help you know when it’s time to bring your car in for service.

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