Never Overlook These Signs That Your Car Needs a Mechanic

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Taking your car in for needed repairs is not something you want to avoid, even if the repair seems minor. One small problem can soon lead to a larger problem for your car, and in turn, more expensive repairs once you do get to a shop. The problem with car repair, however, is that many car owners don't know when something needs to be fixed urgently or may assume that certain sounds or other issues are just to be expected with older cars. Note a few signs you never want to overlook when it comes to needed car repair.

1. Smoke from the tires

If your car has a slight fluid leak, you may occasionally notice smoke from under the hood, but when you notice smoke from the tires, this often means a problem with the brakes. A brake pad could be slipping so that it sticks between the rotor and the tire, or the calipers may be stuck. The calipers are little clips that squeeze the brake pads against the rotor and if they don't release, the pad stays clinging to the rotor even as you drive. This can cause friction and, in turn, smoke. If the friction is so bad that your car is smoking from the tires, you need to have this checked soon or the brake pads could seize up while on the road.

2. Sliding or skidding

Unless pavement is very icy and slick, your car should never slide or skid when you hit the brakes. This usually means your alignment is off, a tire is very worn down, or your brakes stick too much when you hit the pedal. This can be very dangerous as you may not be able to control your car when you brake. Check your tires for worn or bald spots and if this isn't the issue, have a mechanic check the brakes and alignment.

3. Dashboard lights

It's not unusual for car owners to ignore dashboard warning lights, often reasoning that they're simply too sensitive or are giving warnings for things that are not important. However, those warning lights are connected to sensors under the hood that can detect problems long before you might, and they exist for that reason alone. Ignoring them is like ignoring warning signs on the road and can mean driving in dangerous conditions. When a light goes on, check the owner's manual for what it might mean and then at least have your car checked for needed repairs as quickly as possible.