No matter if your car has racked up the kilometres or you’ve just driven it out of the dealership brand new, a vehicle will send you warning signs if something is not right.

Even if your car is well-maintained and looked after, it can develop issues that could cost you money long term if ignored. So here are seven signs that your car needs a check-up.

1. Your brakes vibrate, sink or squeal 

Everyone hates that squealing sound. As one of the most critical components of your car that keeps you safe, well maintained, and operating brakes are critical.

Listen out for any unusual sounds while using your brakes. Many brake pads have small metal tabs that cause squealing when they are nearly worn out. Some newer cars also have electronic pad wear indicators – this will display a warning light on your dash once the pads are low.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore these signs – driving with worn or damaged brakes is incredibly dangerous and unsafe.

2. You have trouble accelerating 

If you step on the accelerator pedal and your car hesitates or accelerates slowly, this is a warning sign that should be investigated as soon as possible.

If you put the pedal to the metal and feel hesitation, we highly recommend getting it checked out by a qualified mechanic.

3. You hear unexplained noises 

Loud noises! Noises such as knocking sounds, rattling, hisses and audible clunking sounds are all warning sides that there could be a severe issue.

Several components could cause rattles – some of the most common include the exhaust system, poorly fitted glass or body panels or the suspension and drivetrain axle.

If you hear any abnormal noise from anywhere in your vehicle, it’s a good idea to get it checked out by a qualified mechanic.

4. Smoke is coming from the exhaust pipe 

If your car’s exhaust is emitting smoke, this is a significant cause for concern and should be attended to as soon as possible.

In a vehicle that uses diesel fuel, excessive black smoke can sometimes be a characteristic of older cars. However, it could also be caused by faulty injectors or an issue with the vehicle’s exhaust. In a vehicle that uses regular petrol (unleaded) fuel, excessive black smoke may be caused by a dirty air filter, a faulty electronic sensor or other issues.

If your car is emitting smoke that is blue-grey, this is far more serious. It could mean that critical engine components, such as the piston rings or cylinder bores, are failing.

5. Your vehicle pulls 

A car pulling to one side while driving is a serious safety issue. It could indicate uneven tyre pressure or an improper wheel alignment. More seriously, it could mean that there is a worn suspension or steering component.

If your car is pulling to one side, get it checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

6. You see fluid leaks 

Fluid leaking from your car is not always an issue – there are times when fluids should leak naturally. However, if you spot a leak of fluid, the most important thing is to determine the fluid’s color as this will indicate if it is an issue you need to be concerned about.

The six fluids that most commonly drip from a car are water, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, gearbox oil and power-steering fluid. If the fluid is brown or blue, this may indicate engine oil or coolant leak – get this checked out as soon as you can.

7. There’s uneven tyre wear 

Your car’s tyres are the only points of contact to the road, so it’s critical to analyse any signs of uneven wear. Uneven tyre wear can be caused by a number of issues, including over or under inflation, incorrect tyre fitment for wheel, hard driving on curved roads, defective or worn suspension and/or brake parts or an incorrect/unbalanced wheel alignment.

If you notice uneven wear on your tyres but are not sure of the cause, it’s best to let a qualified mechanic or tyre shop take a look.

If you notice one of the above issues on your car, don’t wait – let the experts at Sutherland Automotive help you. Remember, our online booking process lets you pick a time and date.