5 signs your car needs service

January 04 2018

Dependable vehicles are easy to take for granted. But even the most reliable automobile can act up or break down if neglected. Here five signs your car may be due for a routine tuneup.

  1. Fluid leaks -- Check your usual parking spot. Pools of coolant will be green, while oil and fluids from the transmission, power steering, shock absorbers and brakes will be a darker reddish-brown. Leak urgency is determined by the severity and fluid type.

  2. Unusual noises -- A new car noise is never good. For example, squeaks while driving over small bumps may point to suspension issues, while knocking sounds could signal an eventual engine fault.

  3. Odd acceleration -- If the car idles rough, hesitates and then surges in power while accelerating, you could have a clogged fuel injector, a sludge-filled oil pan, a faulty plug or a dirty air filter.

  4. Loss of mileage -- If you notice your vehicle is getting fewer miles per gallon, you could be dealing with dirty air or fuel filters, O2 sensors, plugs, wires or coils.

  5. Service lights -- Check engine lights are activated for a variety of reasons, and some are more serious than others. Many modern vehicles also include specific lights for routine services, such as oil changes.

If you're not sure when to have your car serviced, review your owner's manual. Most manuals list recommended service intervals, as well as the key components and systems that should be checked. For older vehicles, the basic rule of thumb is every six months or every 6,000 miles, whichever comes first.

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