How to Know When Your Vehicle Needs Maintenance

Like most car owners, you want to keep your car in good condition both inside and out. This means taking care of it when it needs servicing. The hard part is figuring out when your vehicle needs maintenance.


Maintenance Reminders

Most newer cars have systems that remind drivers when the car needs maintenance. These systems usually let you know via an alert or image on your dashboard to tell you it’s time to get your oil changed. These are generally based on a certain amount of time passing or a specific number of miles traveled.


If your car has one of these systems, it’s best to trust the manufacturers and take the car in for maintenance shortly after these alerts appear.


You’ve Hit a Certain Mileage

Older cars are generally serviced based on how many miles they have gone since their last maintenance. It depends on how heavily you use your car. While it used to be recommended that you change your oil every 3,000 miles, modern lubricants have made it possible to go between 5,000 and 7,500 miles before needing an oil change. If your car uses full-synthetic motor oil, you might be able to go as far as 15,000 miles before needing maintenance.


If you feel you use your car more than what might be typical, such as if you live in a very cold or very hot climate or you tow or carry heavy loads, you may want to have your vehicle maintained more frequently.


You Hear Strange Noises

If your car starts making strange or unusual noises you’ve never heard before, it may be a sign that your vehicle needs maintenance. You might need to replace a loose belt, repair your exhaust, or fix something wrong with the engine. If you begin to hear sounds coming from your vehicle, you should bring it in for maintenance as soon as possible to avoid further damage.


Smoke or Steam Coming From Under the Hood

If you see white-colored steam coming from underneath the hood of your vehicle, you should bring it in for maintenance as soon as possible. Steam is usually caused when your radiator overheats. If it happens while you’re driving, look at your vehicle’s temperature gauge. If it’s at its maximum, pull over and wait until the gauge goes down and your engine cools before you continue driving.


If the smoke coming out of your car is blue, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and call a tow truck. Blue smoke means there is oil burning somewhere near the engine. It could be a sign of an oil leak, a head gasket failure, wear and tear on a piston, or a worn seal. If it is not repaired quickly, it can become a very expensive problem to fix.


Keeping your car well maintained while it is still running well is the best way to make sure you don’t have costlier expenses down the line.


by Janitors | Licensed under cc BY 2.0