Even though cars are much more reliable nowadays, you will still need to look after them as problems may surface any time. Here are some telltale signs that issues are on the way.
Mechanical problems usually manifest themselves in the form of a smell, noise, or vibration before the actual part goes bust. In this article, you’ll learn to identify some of these warning signs before things get much worse.
Signs of engine trouble
1. The check engine light
This helpful little light does precisely as the name suggests. When it turns on, it is an indication to check your engine immediately. The check engine light (CEL) only turns on when it detects an issue through the car’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system.
The CEL can switch on for a variety of reasons, from small issues such as a faulty sensor to more severe problems such as a bad spark plug. You can check the error code on an OBD reader app or bring it down to your workshop to get it diagnosed.
2. Strange noises
If your car starts making a knocking noise, it might be a sign that there is something wrong with your engine. These sounds happen when engine internal parts such as pistons, bearings, or other moving parts, are worn out.
If you start hearing a knocking sound from your engine, you should bring it to a reputable workshop to get it checked out. Identifying the problem early is much better for both your car and wallet as opposed to when the problem is entirely irreversible.
Other strange noises to listen out for include popping or backfiring from the exhaust.
3. Running roughly, inconsistently, or down on power
Feel the response and listen to your engine when driving. If it sounds like it’s starting to struggle to hold revs as you drive, or if it starts to stutter or shake, that’s usually a sign that there is an issue with your engine.
If your engine feels like it’s down on power and not working as well as it used to, bringing it to a trusted workshop will allow any potential issue to be rectified before it can get worse or cause damage to other components.
4. Puddles under your car
If you start noticing oil puddles underneath your car, it is a sign that your car is leaking oil. If left unchecked, your engine might run dry, which means additional engine friction. This could lead to your engine seizing totally.
If you start noticing puddles of oil under your car, you should get it checked immediately.
As the saying goes, where there is smoke, there is fire. The same rings true in cars. While it may not mean a literal fire, the presence of smoke could mean a combustion problem. Smoke can come from either the engine itself or from the exhaust. The colour of smoke can vary depending on the cause too.
Black smoke is an indication that your engine is either burning too much petrol or is not burning correctly.
White smoke might signify a coolant leak, and it is getting burnt up by the engine.
Blue smoke means that there is an oil leak or your engine is burning excessive amounts of oil.
Regardless the colour of the smoke or where it’s coming from, it would be best if you get your car checked immediately before the damage is irreversible.
Signs of gearbox trouble
1. Leaking fluid
Similar to an engine oil leak, if you notice a puddle under your car, it might be a sign of a transmission leak. One good way to see if that’s the case is to look at the colour of the fluid as transmission fluid is red.
If your transmission fluid is leaking, you should bring your car to a workshop immediately to get it fixed. Driving with no fluid is a recipe for disaster as there are no lubricants to protect the moving parts of the engine.
2. Strange noises
If your gearbox is making strange noises, such as clunking, knocking, whining, or grinding, that’s a pretty bad sign. Your gearbox should be running smoothly and quietly, so if it starts making these noises, it’s usually a sign that something is about to go wrong.
3. Rough or jerky operation
If your car’s gearbox is lurching or jerking around as you try to drive, that’s a sure sign that something isn’t right. Gears should engage smoothly and give you a steady and stable drive.
If your gearbox keeps giving you sudden and rough gear changes, it’s time to bring your car in to a transmission specialist and get it looked at as this is not only uncomfortable to drive, it might cause further damage if left unsolved.
In fact, you might need a gearbox overhaul if the internal parts are worn.
4. Slipping clutch or gears popping out
While these issues are more prevalent in manual cars, they’re still a big issue if it happens to you. You can feel a clutch slipping even after disengagement and acceleration – the engine RPMs will rise, but the car doesn’t move as much as it should.
Another issue you might face is your car popping out of gear. A popped gear happens when your gear lever suddenly goes back to the neutral position, and you lose forward drive. It is not only disconcerting but is also unsafe for you and other road users.
5. Burning smell
A burning smell, while driving, is never a good thing. If you notice a burning smell while on the road, bring it to a workshop immediately. It can be a sign of an overheating transmission or transmission fluid.
You might be able to fix the problem by replacing the fluid. Otherwise, your gearbox might need an overhaul. Whatever it is, getting experienced and professional help is the right thing to do, for your safety and others as well.
If you are looking for a workshop for your gearbox, engine, and servicing needs, look no further than 1 Car Service.
Specialising in engine and gearbox overhauls, they can also do air-con repairs, routine servicing and maintenance for all makes and models, such as Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, etc.
Whether your gearbox is DSG, CVT, Tiptronic, PDK or traditional Automatic, 1 Car Service will be able to get your transmission running smoothly again in no time, and often at a discount of what you would have to pay at other workshops.
Their confidence in their craft also shows through via their 2-year / 40,000km warranty package for engine or gearbox overhauls.
With a stellar rating of 4.9 stars on Google, and over a hundred great reviews, they are without a doubt the top choice for any engine, gearbox, and aircon repairs.