3 Signs Your Vehicle Needs A Mechanic Immediately

Have you recently purchased your first vehicle? Do you know how to tell if you need to take your vehicle in to be checked out by a mechanic? Although it hopefully won't happen for some time yet, there will ultimately come a day when your vehicle is in need of repairs. But if you're not a mechanic yourself, it's not always easy to tell when something is critical and when something is just a relatively minor annoyance. Some of the most important things to look out for include:

Bouncing or dipping: In a modern vehicle with anti-lock brakes, it's normal for the vehicle to sometimes shudder or feel slightly bouncy when the brakes are applied suddenly. But it is not normal for the vehicle to actually dip or bounce every time you come to a stop. Dipping or bouncing can be a sign that your vehicle's suspension is shot, or is nearly gone. If you ignore this symptom and don't take your vehicle to a local brake repair shop for an inspection and repair, the axle or axle mounting could become seriously damaged. As you might expect, this is a more serious repair that can be much more expensive than simply having your suspension repaired.

Smoke: If you're driving around and notice smoke coming from beneath your hood, this is always a bad sign and you should pull over immediately and have your vehicle towed to a mechanic for repairs. When you have smoke coming out of your tailpipe, this also needs to be checked out as soon as possible. It's often a sign of a leaking head gasket, something that can be more expensive to fix the longer you ignore it. But, sometimes, you smell smoke and you can't pinpoint the source. The smell may be seemingly random and not seem to come from either the hood or the tailpipe. In this instance, there's a good chance that your brakes are the issue. A brake service can tell you if the brake calipers are stuck, the brake pads are rubbing against the tire, or the brake fluid is overheating. For most vehicles, these fixes are often relatively quick and inexpensive.

Leaks: Hopefully, you're already checking your brake fluid, radiator fluid, power steering, and oil levels on a weekly basis. But you should always try to look at the ground beneath your car whenever you leave a parking space that you've been using for more than a couple of hours. Most leaks start slow, so you may not notice the fluid levels going down immediately. But a few drops of fresh liquid beneath your vehicle can be a sign that you should get it checked out before the leak becomes serious. If you suspect a slow leak, get a large piece of poster board and place it under your vehicle overnight, weighed down by a few rocks. In the morning, inspect the poster board to see if any drops of fluid are visible. Greenish fluid means that your radiator is leaking. Brown means you have an oil leak. Red or pink means that your power steering line is leaking. Depending on the brands that you use, clear fluid can also mean a power steering leak or it can mean that you need to have a brake service check your brake line for leaks.