Don’t Overlook These Signs That It’s Time to Take Your Car in for Service

Most vehicle owners know when to take their car in for an oil change and tune-up, and will of course have it diagnosed and repaired if the engine won't start. However, there are other signs that it's time to take your car in for service even if it's actually running. Note a few of these here so you know to avoid causing more damage to your car and face even costlier repairs down the road.

1. Veering

If you feel that your car is veering to one direction or another, you can test this on an open, safe road by letting go of your grip on the steering wheel just momentarily, and noting if the car does veer to one side. If it does and it's very noticeable, you want to have your car serviced. This can mean that the alignment of your tires is off or they need balancing, or one tire is flatter than it should be. This pulling is not only dangerous as the car may slide to that direction when you brake, but it can mean excess wear and tear on the steering column as you work to control the car and keep it driving straight. 

2. Squealing

A high-pitched squeal from underneath the hood when you start the car is usually the fan belt; it's easy to overlook this as the squeal may stop as the car warms up, but this typically means the belt needs replacing. Ignoring this can allow the belt to snap and in turn, the engine's fan won't work and the car will quickly overheat.

If the squealing continues, this often means that there are bad bearings. The bearings allow shafts to turn and if they go bad, your steering column or other parts may lock up. A car service can find the bearings that need replacing, but this too should be done sooner rather than later.

3. Poor gas mileage

You may suddenly be paying more for gas at the pumps if there's been a price increase, but if you notice that you need to fill up more often, this usually means that there is a problem with your car. A sudden decrease in gas mileage can mean a problem with the exhaust as the engine may not be releasing fumes and emissions as it should, or the brakes may be sticking and causing the car to work harder to move forward. This can damage the engine and the brakes as well.