Even the most reliable cars malfunction from time to time.
And, in those moments, drivers face the ominous question, "Do I need to see the mechanic?"
If your vehicle running differently than it normally does, you should always take it in to get a diagnosis. Here are a few common indicators you should call your mechanic right away:
1. Flashing Check Engine Light
This one should be obvious. A normal illuminated check engine light is not a cause for panic, but instead an indicator that you should have your engine checked sooner than later. But when the little engine light is flashing, it means you need to have the engine checked immediately. The check engine light is a major sign that something is wrong within any of the hundreds of systems that your car's computer monitors. It could be an emissions system problem, which may damage the catalytic convertor if the vehicle is driven without being repaired.
2. Excessive smoke from the exhaust
During colder winter months, you may notice a little more white smoke trailing your vehicle at first start. This is a normal reaction of water vapor coming from the exhaust system and should subside once the engine temperature increases.
But if you notice excessive smoke coming from the exhaust while driving, if your exhaust changes to an unusual color, or if the bumper area of your car near the exhaust pipe has black residue, you should take your car into your mechanic at the next available appointment. This could be an indication that you have an oil leak, especially if you also notice a burning smell.
3. Recurring or sudden transmission issue
Pay attention to how your car operates in normal conditions. If you notice difficulty getting up to speed, funny sounds, or unusual feelings, take it into your trusted mechanic for repair as soon as you can.
In warm summer months with the air conditioner running, there will be fresh water dripping from the front near the passenger side, which is normal. But if you notice any major leaks underneath your car on the ground where you normally park, especially if any of the above symptoms are occurring, take it to your mechanic as soon as possible.
You’ll want to look for bright green (coolant) or dark red/brown (transmission oil, engine oil or brake fluid), usually found toward the front of the car.
Our team is focused on making sure your car avoids costly repairs and breakdowns. V&F can help you create an appropriate schedule that considers your vehicle’s age, your driving habits, and the manufacturer’s recommendation. Call us at (413)314-2280 to discuss preventative maintenance planning, or schedule an appointment online.