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If you are anything like most people, your car is your baby. The little (or big) machine is so important because of all the roles it plays in your life. From taking you to wherever you so desire (as long as you have gas), to acting as a mini restaurant when you have to eat on the go, it is even a convenient location to take a quick nap.

You really could not imagine what you would do without her (assuming you think of your car as your babe). In fact, you do not want to imagine it, and that is why you are so tempted to ignore the common told tale signs of an engine in trouble whenever you see them. However, you dare not do so. Taking your car to a mechanic might cost you a lot of money, but ignoring the problem will not make it go away, it will only make it worse.

The ‘check engine’ warning light is on

When you turn on your ignition, a magical world of little lights come on all around you as the car checks out whether all its elements are functioning alright for you to start driving. This is good.


(Photo credits: OliBac)

The lights should all go off after a short while though, and if this does not happen, then there is a problem. Some issues could be as simple as properly locking all doors or your car might be warning you that your oil level or pressure is low. This you can take care of yourself.

A ‘check engine’ warning light however, is a completely different ball game. It could mean anything from a gas cap that is not screwed on as tightly as it should be to a much, much bigger problem. Do not ignore this; have your car checked out as soon as possible.

Jerk motions

You want your car running as smoothly and elegantly as a ballet dancer. If this is not the case and your vehicle is making weird jerk motions without any prompting from you then no, it is not the road, which needs to be paved better; your car has a problem.

(Photo credits: fauxto_digit)

Common weird behavior problems includes a car that just will not accelerate as fast as it should, (this can get you plenty of rude gestures from your fellow road users! ) or one that goes a little bit faster than you intended it to. Remember, you should be able to control your car. Any problems with the brakes fall squarely within this category as well. Do not ignore any issues with your car control, they are potentially fatal.

Sights, sounds and smells

Sounds like the description of a perfect getaway, doesn’t it? Well that is exactly what it should be. If you are getting these experiences from your car instead of on your holiday vacation, then you need to get your car looked at.

Sights refer to smoke. This could be coming out either at the front or back of your car but either way it is not a good sign. Most exhaust smoke is an indication of minor problems, which should not be the cause of much worry. Ignore this too long however, and you most likely will have smoke coming out from under your hood, yes, your engine has overheated.

The only good sound to hear from a car is that of a powerful engine revving. Tapping, popping and grinding noises however, are not good. Do not crank up your stereo and wish the sound away, this could be an indication of trouble with your transmission or piston.

Finally, no, your car does not smell of smoke because the city is polluted! You do not want to smell smoke within your car interior; this could indicate a myriad of problems, not to mention the fact that carbon monoxide can kill you. The smell of burning rubber is not good either. This is usually an indication of damaged drive belts, or a rubber hose that is touching something too hot in the engine, causing it to melt.

All in all, most car problems can easily be taken care of, if detected in good time. If you notice any of these issues with your baby, do not ignore them, take her to a doctor!

This article has been written by Chad, a passionate car enthusiast. If he is not in his car driving out into the open wild, then he is behind his computer writing for expert auto help.