Most folks don't want to incur an auto repair bill unless they're certain the job needs to be done. Ignoring a vehicle's issues, however, can prove a lot more costly. You should keep an eye out for these five signs that your ride needs to go to an auto repair shop.
Decreased Fuel Economy
Numerous potential issues can drive down fuel economy. Some of the answers are very simple, such as under-inflated tires. Others can be very complex, such as failures in the computer system.
Bear in mind that big shifts in driving habits can lead to decreased fuel economy, too. For example, shifting to a job where you have to do more city driving on your commute can degrade performance. In the absence of such an obvious explanation, though, it's time to talk with a pro.
Modern vehicles should be fairly quiet, even when they're operating on rough highways at high speeds. If you're hearing anything out of the ordinary, it's worth investigating. Hearing any grinding sounds, in particular, is cause to visit an auto repair shop ASAP. Rattling, squealing, and other odd noises also deserve your attention.
Changes in Driving Feel
Cars' components do tighten and loosen up over time, but sudden changes in the feel of a vehicle's drive should be worrying. This is especially the case if the change in feel is accompanied by something physical, such as the car pulling to the side or a sense that the vehicle isn't delivering enough power. General sluggishness could be the product of anything from bad spark plugs to a stuck caliper on the brake system. Have it checked out before it becomes a bigger issue.
Bad smells should be controllable with basic deodorizing products you can buy at any store. If you're detecting an odd smell, it's usually a sign of something that needs to be fixed. Answers can range from failing heater cores to animals nesting in the air intake.
Don't just cover up noticeably bad smells, particularly if they persist. Go to a shop.
Plenty of folks deal with small auto issues on their own. If you notice some of these adding up quickly, it's worth seeking professional advice. For example, losing a lot of fuses or light bulbs in a car may be a sign of a bigger problem with the electrical system. Even if the cost of repeatedly doing it yourself it is cheap, it's better to be on the safe side and have a technician check it out.