How to Know When Your Car Needs Repair: 5 Signs to Look Out For - Insane Visions

How to Know When Your Car Needs Repair: 5 Signs to Look Out For

Automobiles offer the convenience of being able to travel on demand. Not only do these machines help ensure you reach your destination, but they also provide you with a comfortable travel experience that most public transport can’t.

Because of this, routine car maintenance is vital to ensure that your vehicle runs smoothly. Knowing the signs of the need for potential repairs is also a must.

To help you out, here are five signs you should look out for to know when your automobile requires immediate repair services:

1.   Dashboard Warning Indicators

An excellent – and probably the most obvious – indicator that a car repair is needed are the warning lights placed on your vehicle’s dashboard. When those icons light up, you may need to visit a reliable car repair service to deal with whatever the problem may be.

But what makes this more complicated than most warning signs are the different meanings of each dashboard warning light. They cover a wide range of issues – from a simple near-empty gas tank scenario to major under-the-hood repairs.

The “check engine” light, for instance, encompasses a variety of potential problems. This code usually points to the general direction where the problem may be occurring, but it doesn’t specify what it is. In this case, you may need the help of an experienced and skilled professional to properly diagnose and fix the problem.

When this dashboard warning light flashes, you need a mechanic to check your automobile immediately. However, you can also try to consult the manual for some guidance on the matter.

Below are some tips to try to narrow down the possible issues:

  • Tighten the gas cap. For some models, the check engine light can indicate matters as minor as a loose gas cap. It may take several drives before your check engine light resets after you do so. Moreover, some cars have a separate indicator for this.
  • Reduce your vehicle load and speed. Aflashing check engine light combined with performance issues like loss of power may be remedied by slowing down while driving. It may also help to reduce your load (e.g., detach the car being towed).
  • Utilize built-in diagnostics. Some vehicles – particularly newer models – have a built-in diagnostic feature that allows the driver to run a maintenance check on the car. These remote diagnostic capabilities offer reports on trouble codes and even set a car service appointment on their own.
  • Check for a serious malfunction. Severe problems like overheating as signaled by another dashboard indicator light may be linked to your “check engine” warning. You should also check for other serious malfunctions, like low oil pressure. Some models also feature varying “check engine” light codes (i.e., a yellow warning for a probe and a red light that means “stop right now”).

2.   Smoke Coming From Under the Hood

Smoke coming out of your car hood is never a good thing. It can be a sign of overheating, which tends to damage the engine when it is forced to drive.

When this happens, you should watch out for the temperature gauge on the dashboard. You should pull over and allow the engine to cool if this happens when you’re on the road. You should also consider calling in an emergency car repair service to be sure.

3.   Puddles of Fluid

Puddles of fluid underneath a vehicle are often a cause for concern. While dripping water may be normal when the air conditioning is on during the warm months, other liquids, like the transmission fluid, coolant, engine, or brake fluids, should never be leaking.

To know if the puddle is made of fluid coming from your car, you should check its color. Transmission fluid is usually red while coolant comes with a green hue. Engine or brake fluids are black and oily.

When you find that one of these fluids is leaking, call a professional mechanic immediately. Whichever type of fluid it may be, these liquids are vital for the performance and reliability of your car.

4.   Transmission Issues

Transmission problems can be detected by looking out for signs, such as:

  • Rough shifting
  • Delayed shifting
  • Burning smells
  • Revving engine before moving when shifting

Transmission issues should be checked by a trained eye immediately as they can cause a heap of problems if left unattended. In some cases, unchecked transmission problems require replacement of the component, which can be quite expensive as car repairs go.

5.   Strange Sounds

It doesn’t matter if it’s gradual or sudden, unusual sounds that come from your vehicle often mean something is up. Below are some strange sounds you might hear and what they could mean:


When you hear creaking or clunking when you drive, it means that your car suspension shock or strut may already be worn out. The clunking may occur when these components are forced to work, particularly during a bumpy drive.


A prolonged squealing or quick ticking sound tends to indicate a potential problem with the belt. Located under the hood, the timing belt can come loose and may slip over the pulleys that link it to the crankshaft and camshaft.

Squealing is common for cars with this problem, particularly when the steering wheel is turned. This indicates that the power steering belt is stretched out or the power steering pump is already failing.

But when you hear a high-pitched screeching, you should check if the brake pads are already worn out.


When you hear grinding noise when you drive, chances are that the gears are meshing together. This is a sign that the transmission needs to be inspected for worn-out gears or if the transmission fluid is insufficient.

Brake rotors may also make such noises, especially if they’re already at the end of their lifespan. However, in some cases, it may only be due to debris caught in between the rotor and the pad.

Seek a Car Repair Expert Now

Some people neglect to bring their automobiles for routine maintenance or even repairs because of the expense they are trying to avoid. However, you must keep in mind that not bringing your vehicle to a car repair shop may cost you more in the long run, especially if your vehicle shows signs of any of the potential problems listed in this article.


Mahesh Rohra is the Managing Director of certified Pre-Owned Multi Brand Car Sales & Service. AWR Strategic Ventures, Part of the AW Rostamani Automotive Group, a trailblazer in the automotive fraternity with a legacy of over 50 years. AUTOTRUST is the strategic arm business vertical through which the group had diversified into certified Multibrand Car Sales and Aftersales Service Center Network, offering a one stop shop solution for all automotive requirements. AUTOTRUST offers solutions to buy & sell car, Agency standard Car Service and Maintenance, car rentals and much more.