When a car is giving you a warning symptom or sign that something might be wrong with it, it’s always best to heed the call and seek for a solution as soon as you’re aware.
As a people, we sometimes condition ourselves to procrastinate doing something because doing it later feels a lot less challenging than doing it now. The downside is that ignoring a warning from a car might lead to severe consequences, later. You might think of it as a small problem, but small problems can grow into big problems. Almost all drivers can recall a story where they ignored some type of warning sign, not only because they thought it small but also because of the admin of taking their car to a mechanic. For one, there’s the possibility of having to find alternative transportation or the inconvenience of waiting for hours or days while it’s being fixed. And two, you naturally try to avoid the bill that will come with this repair.
This is an indication of how common it is to avoid car issues.
The recommendation here is, don’t be a driver who ignores warning signs from your car. You might end up being a driver without a car, for weeks or months or a driver who has to fork out thousands of Rands you didn’t budget for. Taking care of your car is as crucial as taking care of your health. Pushing your body beyond its limits when you’re feeling ill might make you get sicker. The same goes for your car. Maintenance is key for the health of your car.
With that being said, in this article below, we’ll share a few signs you should never ignore.
You’ll also get a bit more understanding of basic car parts and the role they play in the functionality and performance of your car.
Table of Contents
Warning lights are there to alert you of a car part that isn’t functioning well. It could easily be something you can fix yourself, such as tyre pressure. But it could also be something serious which needs attention from a professional, so, caring for your car is important. With that, here’s a breakdown of what warning lights in your dashboard indicate:
Check engine lights (H3)
This is an indication of engine fault, and it could be for a number of reasons. You would need to have it checked by a mechanic to find out what the real problem is.
Engine temperature warning
This means your engine is experiencing extreme heat and needs attention. You can easily avoid this by consistently ensuring that the car has sufficient coolant and water in the radiator.
Oil pressure warning
An oil pressure warning tells you that your oil pressure system is experiencing some fault or that you’re running low on oil. Both of these signs require immediate attention and care.
Tyre pressure warning
It means one or more of your tyres are running low on pressure and need to be refilled for better performance. If you ignore a tyre that is low on pressure, it means you will put more pressure onto the tyre or tyres as you continue driving the car. This could be a problem; your car can get a puncture or lead to tyre burst, which is dangerous for you and those around you.
Charging system warning
When a charging system light is flicking, it’s telling you that it is running out of power. The usual culprit for this is the alternator. It could be that the alternator is unable to maintain the battery charge; therefore the battery may die. It’s worth looking into this with a sense of urgency.
You’ll most likely notice a grinding or squeaking sound when you pump your brakes. This could be an indication that something is seriously wrong with your brake pads. You could simply need a replacement of your brake pedals, but only a professional can tell you exactly what needs to be done to fix your brake pads.
This is an issue that you need to solve immediately to avoid being stuck on the side of the road or unintentionally causing an accident that could lead to more problems.
If you hear a knocking or grinding noise when you change your gear, the chances are that something is wrong with your gearbox, perhaps your synchroniser rings have worn out. But you won’t know exactly what’s wrong until you take the car to a mechanic. Ignoring it will not change anything; instead, the problem will persist. On the other hand, if you hear whistling and clicking noises, it indicates that your gearbox’s bearings are worn out, meaning that they need to be replaced altogether.
Other noises that your gear may make, particularly when moving your car into neutral gear, is a clanking or banging noise. This sound is a telltale that your gear is loose and needs to be tightened back into a proper position.
Leakages are potential hazards, for the functionality and performance of your car, as well as for your safety. If you notice gas leaks, oil leaks, water leaks, do something about it as soon as possible. Some of your car fluids such as the oil in the engine lubrication system help to lubricate the car parts and reduce friction between the car parts surfaces. The longer you let the leak go on, the less oil there is in the car to lubricate it, and the higher your chances are of experiencing friction. You may end up with more problems, which you could avoid by taking care of the leak as you notice the first signs.
If your car is smoking, get it checked immediately, don’t wait for the smoke to disappear, you could potentially be waiting for a fire to blow up. If you’re far from a garage, park the car on the side, investigate where the fire is coming from. Look at the colour of the smoke. If you know more about car parts, you’ll have a good idea of what the colour indicates. If not, call a professional mechanic to provide them with the details of what your car is experiencing, and they will be able to tell you what to do from there.
A battery is the life of your car. When you notice signs that your battery is dying, that’s when you need to get it checked. If you’ve had the same battery for years, it might be an indication that you need a new battery. This is something that you will learn from your mechanic after inspection.
Overall, car issues are not just about asking yourself “how well do you know car parts” and decide that you know them well enough to ignore a warning sign. You might believe that the car can survive the little knock, but don’t be naive. Use the above car maintenance tips to ensure that your car is always in a healthy and roadworthy condition.