Before your car breaks down, it inevitably will show some warning signs that trouble is on the way. The trick is to notice these signs so you can get the car into a good, trustworthy repair shop before you find yourself on the hook for more damages that could have been prevented.

A quality repair shop will notice the signs and fix anything that needs fixing before it causes trouble for you down the line. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road somewhere without a way to get home.

Car Warning Signs

If your car is showing any of the following signs, get it into an auto repair shop as soon as you can before you regret the negligence later.

1. Leaking Fluids

Whether it be oil, transmission fluid, or something else, your vehicle should not be leaking things onto the road. If you notice a big puddle of liquid underneath your car every morning when you go to leave, you probably have something in the engine that needs to be addressed. Leaking fluids can force your engine to work harder than usual, meaning it is far more likely to die. It will also burn off the fluids faster and cause damage to belts and pistons that need to be kept lubed to function properly. There is also the fact that your car could overheat if there is not enough coolant to keep the temperature down.

leaking fluids underneath a car a warning sign for repair

2. Loud Noises

If you have owned your vehicle for a while, you should be familiar with how loud the engine runs. If the engine begins to run louder than you are used to, there is a very real chance that something is going wrong in there. The best course of action is to get it into an auto repair shop that will determine what the problem is and work to fix it before any further damage can be done. A loud engine can mean something as simple as an oil change, or it could mean something far more serious. Whatever the cause, it is much smarter to have it looked at sooner rather than later.

3. Weird Smells

Your heating and cooling systems should not be giving out strange smells when they are turned on. If you are smelling unfamiliar scents, especially if they are unpleasant, get your car into an auto repair shop as soon as you can. Strange smells could signify a number of things that would prove dangerous to you and your family if not addressed. A mechanic will know how to handle these issues.

car making funny smell with man holding nose over ac

When Should I Bring My Car in for Service?

Modern cars will of course have built-in dashboard warning lights which are the first sign that you should bring your car in. But if you’re experiencing issues like leaking fluids, loud noises, or weird smells, you should find a local repair shop and bring it in to be looked at.

For regular service, you should bring your car in at least once a year for routine maintenance to ensure your vehicle is running smoothly and to nip any potential issues in the bud. As well as oil changes annually if you don’t put many miles on your car, or more frequently if you drive your vehicle in tougher conditions.

For example, if you operate your vehicle under these conditions, you may need more frequent servicing:

  • Take lots of short trips (5 miles or less)
  • Drive in very hot, cold, dusty, or snowy conditions
  • Drive in heavy traffic conditions that involve stop-and-go driving
  • Tow a trailer or carry large loads

You can also check your service manual or manufacturer recommendations for servicing your vehicle.

old man checking car engine for signs of damage

How Long Can My Car Go Without Maintenance?

For newer vehicles operating under ideal driving conditions, routine service may not be needed (other than oil and tire rotations) for the first 35,000 miles. Routine service is also different from repair service which is needed after an accident, or if your vehicle sustains damage like a fender bender.

For older vehicles, as natural wear and tear become more of an issue, the best practice is to follow your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance. Read your owner’s manual or search for your vehicles Make + Model + “owners manual” on google and see what your manufacturer recommends for scheduling maintenance based on age and mileage of your vehicle. Trust this recommendation over your service advisor at your dealership, as they often function as salesmen more so than mechanics.

Get your car fixed right – the first time

Bringing your vehicle into a mechanic regularly can help prolong the life of your vehicle. But we understand regular maintenance schedules can be difficult to follow, and accidents happen.

If you’ve experienced a collision or are in need of auto body work done in the Portland, Oregon area, contact one of our 9 repair shop locations to have your vehicle repaired right – the first time.