Identifying problems with your car

You can usually notice when something’s off with your car. When you drive it every day you notice subtle changes. But how can you tell if it’s a serious issue or just an inconsequential change? Below we explore how you can identify problems with your car.

Liquid leaking from underneath

A common issue is that you notice liquid leaking from underneath your car. This could be down to a few different factors. If it’s clear and looks like water, it probably just is water – a relatively harmless issue for a car.

However, if you notice a multi-coloured liquid, it’s most likely petrol and you need to visit a garage. Similarly, if it’s a red fluid it’s likely to be transmission fluid and you should get your car checked. Green or yellowly fluid tends to be coolant and will need a similar response too. Essentially, you should be suspicious of any fluids under your car that aren’t clear.

Squeaking noises

At some point you will have heard other vehicles on the road squeaking as they move and brake, and it could happen to your car too. This usually signals that the brake pads are worn out.

This can be a dangerous situation as you need your brakes to be performing optimally in case of an emergency stop. If you notice that your car’s squeaking, then you’ll need to get it checked quickly.

Smelling petrol

Petrol has a distinctive scent. If you notice it away from a petrol station it could mean that your car is leaking fuel. Investigate below your vehicle to see if you can spot any puddles where fuel has leaked, and if so, get it checked by a professional.

It could just mean that your fuel cap is damaged, but there might be a leak too, so it’s best for the issue to be investigated.

Exhaust smoke

It’s normal in winter to see smoke billowing out of your exhaust. But outside of cold weather – and when you notice different colours to the smoke – you should worry about exhaust smoke.

If the smoke’s white, it could mean that coolant is leaking from your car. Meanwhile, if you see blue smoke, it could mean that oil is getting into the combustion chambers. Black smoke, on the other hand, suggests that your engine is burning through too much fuel at too quick a pace.

Diagnosing an issue with your car can be extremely useful. If you can identify the problem yourself, you can judge whether the vehicle will need repairs at a garage. If you’re struggling to work out the issue though, whip out your car jack to help you get a closer look and investigate the problem. If you’re still in a state of confusion, then maybe it’s time to give your mechanic a call!