July 27, 2023
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Car Maintenance: Signs Your Vehicle Requires Attention

It is important to keep your vehicle up-to-date with its regularly scheduled maintenance to keep it running smoothly and to avoid the high costs that often come with overdue repairs. If you ignore or don’t know how to listen to your car’s signals, you can risk causing serious damage to your vehicle. 

In this article, we share some common signs that your car requires attention, and what kinds of maintenance in particular might be most beneficial. From unusual noises to illuminated warning lights, here is a list of the most common maintenance-required signals that your car might be trying to share with you.

Does my car need a mechanic?

3 signs that you should book your car in for a check-up:

  1. Illuminated Warning Lights
  2. Unusual Noises
  3. Burning, smoke, steam, stalling, and more

Illuminated Warning Lights

Illuminated lights in your vehicle are generally signals that your car needs some form of maintenance. Illuminated lights may range from Check Engine Lights to other warning lights, like a tire pressure gauge. Below are some examples of warning lights in your vehicle that indicate necessary maintenance.

  • Check Engine Lights
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Low Oil Light

Check Engine Lights

These somewhat ominous warning lights on your dashboard are the most famous of all the warning lights. Check engine lights normally appear as a small yellow or red engine icon, which can indicate a wide range of issues, from quick-fixes to more urgent problems. If your check engine light comes on, make sure to bring your car to a mechanic. If your check engine light is blinking, this usually means that the issue is more severe, and you should take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible and avoid driving until you know what is causing it.

There are different levels of urgency when it comes to check engine lights, but if you have the right toolset you may be able to narrow down the issue. Purchasing a check engine light code reader can help you to understand the codes that your check engine light is portraying, but any mechanic can help you with this as well. Check out our post on Check Engine Light Codes to learn more.

Tire Pressure Gauge

Your vehicle’s tire pressure gauge is a small yet essential tool that gives you valuable information. It is important to have adequate pressure in your vehicle’s tires, as low pressure tires have lower steering and handling responsiveness and are more susceptible to damage. If your tire gauge light shows low tire pressure on multiple tires, this is a sign that there is a potential puncture, leak, or faulty valve in one of your tires. High tire pressure may be an indication of overinflation, which can cause uneven tire wear and decreased handling responsiveness. If your tire pressure gauge indicates significantly high or low pressure in your tire, this is a sign that your tires require maintenance – you should take your vehicle to be checked out by a mechanic.

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Low Oil Light

A low oil light generally illuminates when your vehicle needs an oil change. It is a notice to get an oil change as soon as possible. Engine oil plays a vital role in keeping your engine running smoothly by lubricating the different parts of your engine to reduce friction and diminishing heat. If your oil level stays below the recommended threshold, your engine is more susceptible to becoming damaged due to increased wear and tear on the various components. 

Curbee’s Full Synthetic Oil Change not only uses premium synthetic oil, but our technicians also come to you – schedule an appointment and let us do the rest. 

2. Unusual Noises

There are many different noises you might hear from your car, and they each offer a clue as to what might need fixing.

  • Grinding 
  • Squealing or screeching 
  • Clicking 
  • Whining 
  • Hissing or sizzling


A grinding noise coming from your car is a strong indication that there is something wrong inside your vehicle. If you drive a manual transmission car and are hearing a grinding noise when shifting gears, this could indicate a worn clutch or worn transmission components. A mechanic can help identify the issue and get if fixed.

Squealing or Screeching 

Generally, a high pitched noise, like screeching or squealing, coming from your vehicle when braking can be a sign of worn brake pads. To prevent further damage to the brake system, you should get your brake system checked out as soon as possible to decide whether or not your brake pads need replacing. There are other potential causes of squealing or screeching sounds coming from your vehicle, so it is important to seek professional help to diagnose the issue.

Schedule an appointment with Curbee to have a technician take a look at your vehicle’s brake system today – our brake services range from brake caliper replacement to pads and rotors, and we will ensure the squealing sound is gone before you know it.

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A clicking noise from your vehicle is likely a sign that something is wrong with your brake system, particularly your brake pads or calipers. Usually, the brake pads or calipers have loosened. However, a clicking noise can also be an indication that something has gone wrong with your suspension system, like damaged struts or worn arm bushings and ball joints. Lastly, a damaged drive belt can lead to a clicking sound. A loosened drive belt may be rattling and hitting other parts of the car’s internal components. Give our post on clicking sounds a quick read to learn more about what may be causing this sound in your vehicle.

Book an appointment with Curbee and take advantage of our expert Suspension & Steering services to address those clicking sounds and keep your car running smoothly.

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If you hear a whining sound coming from the underside of your car, this is more than likely the drive belt. A loose belt can quickly accelerate the issue by damaging other aspects of your car’s internal parts.

Additionally, if you hear a whining or whirring sound coming from the engine, especially when accelerating, there may be an issue with the alternator, power steering pump, or serpentine belt. If you are hearing a noise that matches with either of these descriptions, it is an urgent message from your car – bring it to a mechanic to get it checked out.

Hissing or Sizzling 

A hissing or sizzling sound (particularly coming from your engine) is likely a coolant or oil leak, which requires immediate attention to prevent engine overheating or lubrication issues. Make sure to bring your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible if you’re hearing hissing or sizzling noises.

Additional Signs Your Car Needs Urgent Attention

Aside from the aforementioned signals, there are a few more indications that tell you your car needs immediate attention:

  • Smoke or steam
  • Burning smell
  • Loss of power, misfiring, or stalling

Smoke or steam

If you are seeing smoke or steam coming from your vehicle, this is a sign that there is something very wrong, and you should seek immediate help from a mechanic. It can suggest overheating, a coolant leak, an oil leak, or other problems. If you see smoke or steam while you are driving, pull over to a safe location and turn off the engine as soon as you can. To prevent further damage to your vehicle, seek help immediately.

Burning smell

A burning smell coming from your car (especially the engine compartment) can indicate a variety of problems, but it is undoubtedly a severe issue that needs to be promptly addressed. It might be due to an overheating engine, worn out brakes, electrical issues, or leaking fluids. As a burning smell is usually a precursor to a potential fire hazard, this issue must be checked out as soon as possible.

Loss of power, misfiring, or stalling

If you are experiencing sudden loss of power, engine misfires, or stalling, there might be a problem with the fuel system, ignition, or other engine components. These issues require immediate attention to prevent potential breakdowns while driving.

Leaking fluid

Lastly, puddles or stains of fluid under your parked car suggest a leak. This might be a coolant leak, oil leak, or transmission fluid. Leaks can lead to significant damage to the engine, as well as full system failures if they are not addressed. 

If you encounter any of these urgent signs, it is critical that you prioritize getting them checked out immediately for safety purposes. 

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Health Check

At Curbee, we go above and beyond to provide exceptional car care right at your doorstep. Our Signature Health Check is a comprehensive diagnostic examination conducted by our mechanics, ensuring a thorough assessment of your vehicle’s condition. Whether you’re noticing unusual sounds, performance issues, or simply want peace of mind, our Signature Health Check will help to uncover any underlying issues and provide you with a detailed report. Curbee offers a wide range of services to address problems you might encounter. Schedule a service today to experience the convenience and expertise that sets us apart.

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