Recognizing The Warning Signs Of A Sick Car

Okay, something’s wrong with your car. You know it. It just doesn’t “feel” right.

That may sound lame when you’re talking to your mechanic, but believe me, it’s not something you want to ignore.

Maybe you feel like the car is difficult to handle. Maybe the ride just seems less smooth and stable. Perhaps there’s a vibration that wasn’t there before.

These symptoms almost always indicate a problem.

Is it harder to steer your vehicle? Do you have difficulty steering in a straight line? This might mean your front wheels are misaligned or you have worn steering parts.

Does your car feel like it wants to steer or pull to the right or left? You’ll need to get this checked out. It may only be that your tires aren’t properly inflated. But it could also mean that your front end is misaligned or damaged in some way. That’s nothing to play around with!

Maybe your car feels like it’s vibrating. Your tires may need balancing in this case.

It’s a good idea to check your shock absorbers and struts, too. They might need replacing if the car rides “strangely”.

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"For anyone who wants to save money on car repairs and maintenance, this book is the place to start."

If you put on your brakes, and your car pulls to one side – that means you need to take in it for repair.

If the brake pedal sinks to the floor when pressure is maintained – same thing. Take it in.

If you hear or feel scraping or grinding when you apply the brake, this indicates a problem that needs to be checked out.

And of course, the no brainer – You need to get your car to a repair shop if the "brake" light on the instrument panel is lit.

Engine trouble is on the menu if you find that your car is hard to start. Other indicators include the check engine light coming on, your car using more than one quart of oil between changes, the car engine running after you remove the key, if the car stalls or idles roughly, and if there’s poor acceleration. Also, getting fewer miles to the gallon is nothing to pooh-pooh. That could mean an engine problem, too.

Say the word “transmission problems” and your wallet being drained of all that’s in it comes to mind. You might have a problem of this nature if there’s a delayed response when shifting from neutral to drive or reverse, if your car doesn’t shift during regular acceleration, or if the engine speeds up, but the car doesn’t respond. If shifting is hard – there could be a problem with transmission, too.

Just for your peace of mind, make sure the mechanic checks to see if it’s just a disconnected hose problem or if maybe the filter is plugged. These repairs are much simpler and cheaper than having your transmission replaced.

When it comes right down to it, you know your car and how it’s supposed to feel when all is well. If something doesn’t quite feel right, get it checked out. You may end up saving money and someone’s life!

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