You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to know that something may be wrong with your vehicle.  If you stay alert to vehicle messages and use your senses while driving, in many cases you can identify when there is a problem.  In this months’ blog, we share how you can use your four key senses of sight, smell, touch, and hearing to easily spot a developing issue in yourvehicle.

Use your Eyes

One of the primary things that you can use your eyes for in spotting issues with your vehicle is to look for a fluid leak.  If you consistently park in the same spot, make sure to check underneath the vehicle for signs of fluid leaks.

  • Is the leak large or small?
  • What color is the fluid or stain?
  • Does the fluid leak appear at certain times when using the vehicle?
  • Do you notice any smoke from the engine when in operation or after stopping?

Another way to use your vision to determine a vehicle problem is by looking at your tires?  You should periodically inspect all four tires for signs of wear on the treads.

  • Is the groove between treads shallow? Is it less than 2/32 deep?
  • Do you see any wear along the sides of the tires?
  • Are the treads bald in any places?

Use your Nose

If you have a sensitive nose, then you should easily be able to detect unusual smells inside or outside of your vehicle.

  • Do you smell a chemical smell when operating the vehicle?
  • Do you smell an electric smell when the vehicle is in use?
  • Does your exhaust smell like rotten eggs?
  • Is there a heavy exhaust smell inside the vehicle cabin?

Sometimes the smells that emanate from a vehicle are the result of fluid burn-off from leaks.  If you smell the rotten egg smell, there is a range of things that can be causing this to happen from a bad catalytic converter to a fuel filter or clog.

If you smell exhaust inside the vehicle, get this addressed immediately as this can be extremely dangerous to you and your vehicle occupants and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Use your Touch

When you are driving, your sense of touch can help you identify a variety of issues with the vehicle.  Your vehicle is designed to withstand a lot of stress from the road and so unless there is a problem that is developing, the vehicle should run smoothly.  However, you may notice subtle or obvious changes to the sensations in your hands (on the steering wheel), your feet (the brake pedal), or just in general.

  • Do you feel vibrations on the steering wheel? Does it happen at certain times when using the vehicle?
  • Is it more difficult to turn the steering wheel than in the past?
  • Is the brake pedal soft, or cushiony, when depressing your foot?
  • In general, does the vehicle bounce, shake, vibrate, or sway when in operation?
  • Do you feel more impact from road bumps or potholes than in the past?

Use your Ears

Many drivers identify strange sounds before other problems that they may smell, see, or feel.  Your hearing is a valuable tool in the identification of vehicle issues.  Strange sounds may come from any part of your vehicle, including the engine, the wheels, brakes, or even the transmission.

  • Do you hear squeaking, squealing or other high-pitched sounds when braking or turning the vehicle?
  • Do you hear clicking, flapping, rattling, or banging sounds coming from the engine?
  • Do you hear grinding metal sounds when accelerating the vehicle?

When you hear a sound that is not normal, make note of where and when you are hearing it to help a service professional know where to start in locating the source of the problem.

While you may not be able to address every problem that arises with your vehicle, you can stay more alert and use your senses to get ahead of developing problems.  Pay more attention to what your vehicle may be trying to tell you.

If you have concerns about something you see, smell, feel, or hear in your vehicle, contact the service professionals at Campus Repair to schedule an appointment.