Over all my years of driving the one thing that still causes me the most concern is when I hear a new noise. This drives me particularly crazy every spring. After months of having the windows rolled up it’s very disconcerting when you first roll down the window to get a whiff of that fresh springtime air and you start hearing all those noises you car makes, and perhaps has been making all winter long. Then you start to think “what’s that noise? “, “how long has it been doing that? “
You drive your car everyday. You know how it should handle. If you notice something amiss, and more than once, get it checked out. You may save yourself a lot of inconvenience and money in the long run. You and your mechanic need to be a team when it comes to the maintenance of your car. You however need to be the eyes and ears of the team.
Every so often pay attention when you’re pulling your car out of a parking space. Is there any fresh fluid? It’s hard to tell sometimes due to the stains left from other cars. How about your driveway? Are you seeing new stains? If you are, what color is the fluid? Oil will be quite obvious, appearing black or dark brown. Antifreeze is fairly easy to recognize too with it’s yellow green color. Also, antifreeze has an unmistakable odor. A reddish fluid could be transmission or power steering fluid.
How is your car handling? It is pulling to one side when you stop? It may be time for a front end alignment. Keep a check on your tire pressure. Under inflated tires can cause lower gas mileage. Get your tires rotated on a regular basis to help prevent wear.
Are you breaks squealing? Get to the mechanic as soon as possible, don’t let this problem go on. If you do continue to drive you may find yourself replacing worn rotors along with break pads. Rotors can be very expensive.
Is you car acting sluggish? It is not accelerating like it used to? It may be time for a tune up. Are you noticing a hesitation? May be the gas filter.
Make sure you have your oil changed every 3,000 miles. This is a very good rule for any car, new or old. When I bought my new Toyota truck twenty years ago the first thing my mechanic said was that if I kept the oil changed I’d “get at least 200,000 miles out of the engine”. Well, fifteen years later I had 189,000 and the engine was still going strong. Unfortunately the frame was rusting, which was her ultimate demise.
Cars manufactured today are much better than they were 20 years ago and if you listen to what you car is trying to tell you, you should be able to have many worry free years with your car too.