1) System Warning Lights
I woke up one morning and got all readied up for work with perfect confidence that my car was in perfect shape until… until I started up the engine. Whaddya know, my dashboard is having a light festival!
No, these lights are not signs that your car is talking to you and telling tales of how much it loves you. System warning lights are very important indicators of your engine’s current status. Pay attention to them. Now, it’s not uncommon for these indicators to light up for a few seconds after the engine starts up. However, if they remain on for unusually long periods of time, then you better schedule a trip to your mechanic as soon as possible.
What do these lights mean exactly? There are 3 major warning lights that you have to keep your eyes on and these are:
- Check Oil/Oil Level Low
- Oil Pressure Low
- Check Engine
The first two lights are very basic and self-explanatory. This means that you’ll know what they mean even if you aren’t an automobile enthusiast or a “pro.” The Check Engine indicator, on the other hand, is meant to be left up to the “pros” because it could signal anything from invading aliens to faulty computer boxes so you better take it seriously.
2) Your Car Starts Guzzling Gas
Ever see one of those car advertisements boasting how the newest model is the most fuel efficient yet? I never really could digest the fact that the Audi A6 with its 2.0 liter supercharged engine was more efficient than my Fiat Panda. Yes, that was a joke; I do not own a Panda.
Anyway, whatever your car is, your mileage should pretty much be the same if you travel the same routine every day. If you notice that your car guzzles a lot more gasoline than it did last month and has been doing so for the past few days or weeks, that could be your engine telling you that he needs a trip to the mechanic.
3) Chirping or squealing noise from under the hood
I was cruising along the highway one morning on my way to work when I heard the faintest of all the strangest sounds I have ever heard while driving. It was a “meow”, and it was coming from the engine compartment. I ignored it at first, a bit fearful of the thought that I might be going nuts, but it kept on until I couldn’t stand it any longer. I pulled over and checked under the seats for monsters. I followed the “meowing” to the engine and there lay the culprit! Snuggled up just under the headlights was, apparently, my mother’s kitten! What ensued was a rather fun day at work!
Engine noise is a pretty blunt indication that there is something wrong under that hood, chirpings and squealing sounds are not excluded! These noises are most probably signs of your drive belt is nearing the end of its wear-and-tear life and needs to be replaced.
4) Exhaust Smoke
We all hate smoke belchers with violent prejudice! Like, we just want to drop by their houses and secretly put thumbtacks inside their shoes! But what happens when we become what we hate the most?
When our autos are belching out more smoke than it should, it can only mean one thing: the engine is sick and needs a doctor quick! There are 3 different yet distinct colors that exhaust smoke comes in and knowing what they are can help you figure out what’s going wrong with your engine:
- White smoke
- Black smoke
- Blue smoke
White smoke is basically coolant and water entering your engine thus emitting steam like smoke. This could mean that you have a blown head gasket or a damaged cylinder head.
Black smoke is an indication that your engine is either receiving too much fuel or insufficient air. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a damaged engine. However, that could also be the case so better make that trip to the mechanic!
Blue smoke is the result of only one thing: engine oil. This means that there is probably a leak or breakage either at the top side of your engine or the bottom side. Either way, better have it checked!
This one is a no-brainer. An overheating engine can be caused by several factors. Its symptoms range widely: your coolants have run dry or are leaking, the fan motor has stopped working, a bad water pump or it could be something else entirely. It doesn’t matter. An overheating engine is a bad sign and you need to have it diagnosed slash repaired or else suffer the fate of being the owner of a car with a blown engine.