Warning Signs Your Car is in Trouble


Your car won’t always start smoking when it’s in trouble. The signs aren’t always that dramatic. Instead, a small buzzing or knocking may carry on for months before the problems your car is experiencing make themselves known. By then, you may have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to get your car back in top form.

Recognizing the warning signs that your car is in trouble can help you get it the attention it needs before these problems get worse. Early intervention can save you a lot of money and protect your car from further damage.

Here are a few warning signs that you should not ignore:

Oil Light

Those little lights on the dash on there for a reason. They aren’t just suggestions about services you should get. They let you know if there is an issue with your car that needs addressing.

When you see the oil light, it could just mean that your oil is low or is getting dirty and you need to invest in a cheap oil change. However, it could indicate a more serious problem like an oil leak. 

If the oil pressure is low or the level is low, you need to correct it right away. Without the right lubrication, your engine can overheat or even seize up. In either scenario, you are looking at some expensive repairs. Paying attention to the light and getting a cheap oil change can save you a whole lot of trouble.

Check Engine Light

The “check engine” light can be one of the most maddening. The light can indicate a minor problem like a dead spark plug or it can be an indication of a more serious issue like a cracked block. Your mechanic will have to hook your engine up to a diagnostic machine to get to the bottom of the problem and may have to run a series of tests.

Don’t ever ignore the “check engine” light. You may think that the issue isn’t serious, but you are always taking a big gamble if you don’t get your car checked out right away.

Loud Sounds

Even the quietest engines make some noise when you are driving. However, if your car starts buzzing, knocking or “roaring” louder than usual, there could be a problem. Your engine could be struggling, a belt could be loose, the exhaust may need to be replaced, or you may have a problem with the manifold. 

Always visit your mechanic to have any noises checked out as soon as you notice them. The louder the noise gets, the bigger the problem has become.


Loud vibration or rumbling could be a sign that your car is out of alignment or that there is a problem with your tires, such as bulging wires coming through the tread. The vibration will get worse as you drive and reach higher speeds. 

Check your tires for any signs of wear. If you don’t see any, bring your car in for inspection. You’ll probably learn that you need an alignment.

Smell of Burning Oil

This is almost a sure sign that you have an oil leak. The oil has made its way into the exhaust system, which is causing the smell. You can look for other signs of a leak, such as oil on the pavement or smoke coming out of your car when the engine is on.

This is a problem that a cheap oil change can’t fix. You’ll need to bring your car in as soon as possible to have the leak fixed. The longer it goes on, the worse the leak will get and the more vulnerable your engine will be to overheating and other problems.

Green Liquid on Pavement

Your car can leak a lot of fluids. If you see green liquid on the pavement, you likely have a coolant leak. Without the right level of coolant, your engine is prone to overheating and vulnerable to expensive damages. Leaking coolant also poses a risk for the environment and for family pets, who can be poisoned if they ingest it.

You may also have a coolant leak if you notice the smell of syrup coming from your car.

Squealing Sound

The problem depends on when you hear the sound. If you hear the squealing sound when you start up the car, you might have a problem with your serpentine belt, which helps to power your alternator and other parts. If you hear the sound while you are driving or when you hit the brakes, you may need new brakes. You may also hear a grinding sound when you need new brakes.

Instead of guessing at the problem, you should take your car in to have it inspected. Your mechanic can let you know the source of the issue right away so you can make timely repairs.

Slow Start

If your vehicle takes a long time to start up when you turn the ignition, or you have to turn the ignition several times to start the car, you could have a problem with your battery or your alternator. You can’t really test this issue at home, so you’ll need to head in to see your mechanic. If you put off this visit, you risk getting stranded on the side of the road because your battery finally dies or alternator fails and your car won’t start.

Your car may not be able to talk, but it can certainly tell you when there’s a problem. Don’t ignore what it is telling you, or you could end up paying the price. Not only will you have more expensive repair bills, but you could shorten the life of your car. 


Always pay attention to the warning lights on your dash, and never dismiss a weird smell or sound coming from your car. Stay on top of your maintenance, such as by getting a regular cheap oil change, and treat your car well. If you do all these things, you should be able to enjoy your car for many more years to come.