Do you often find yourself fervently wishing and urging your car to just keep going one day more, just a little bit longer? No one wants to deal with the hassle and expense of car repairs, but sometimes they’re inevitable. And if you’re to the point that you cross your fingers every day that your car will start, it might be time to go get your car checked out, before problems become even worse—and more costly. Sometimes, your car will give you a very clear sign that it needs to be taken to a mechanic, but sometimes, those signs are more subtle. If you’re not sure whether your car troubles really warrant a mechanic’s help, your best bet is to find a trustworthy mechanic you can call for advice. If you’re unsure, start by keeping a lookout for these warning signs:

Your gas mileage goes down

If you start to notice that you’re not getting quite as many miles per gallon, it isn’t automatically a sign that trouble is occurring. Something as small as a dirty air filter can gradually reduce your mileage a bit. However, if you notice a swifter decrease in mileage, this is a bigger cause for concern, and it could mean anything from a leak in your gas tank to low oil levels. If your mileage drops quickly, it’s time to call up your mechanic.

It starts making strange noises

You may notice that your car makes an awful squealing sound every time you start it up, but this only ever happens when the temperatures drop below freezing. Often, this is a sign that your engine belt is old or needs a bit of an adjustment—fixes that aren’t really a big deal. While new noises may not automatically mean extensive repairs, generally speaking, if your car starts making noises, it’s asking for some attention. Even if it continues to run smoothly, it’s better to at least check in with your mechanic to see if there is cause for concern.

Fluid is leaking

Sometimes it might not feel like it, but your vehicle was designed to be one seamless, cohesive unit. If things are leaking, that’s generally a sign that somewhere, that cohesive unit is experiencing some issues. It may be something as harmless as a hole in your windshield washer fluid reservoir, which can usually be patched pretty easily. If your vehicle is leaking oil or gasoline, however, that’s a much bigger reason to worry. Your car isn’t supposed to leak, so if it is, get it checked out.

Steering is difficult

If you have power steering—and by this point, unless you drive a classic car, you should—turning the steering wheel shouldn’t be hard. That is, after all, the purpose of power steering. So, if your steering wheel doesn’t want to turn, it starts making squealing noises, or it feels like it’s grinding, something is going wrong. You may just need more power steering fluid, but your mechanic will be able to tell you what’s going on there.

Your car shakes or shudders

The inner workings of your vehicle are almost entirely made up of mechanical components. Some level of vibration is normal, just by dint of your car being a mechanical creation. However, if your car shudders noticeably every time you idle, or it starts shaking when you start it up and doesn’t stop, these could be your car warning you that somewhere inside, there’s an issue with the well-designed mechanical workings of your car. This even includes a bit of a shudder or jolt when changing gears, as transmission issues are a serious cause for concern.

You see smoke or smell something funny

You’ve probably been behind a vehicle that belched out a dark puff of exhaust. That vehicle may run on diesel, so it’s a normal effect of driving. However, if your car isn’t a diesel and you can’t normally see exhaust, you will probably want to worry a bit if you start noticing dark smoke coming from your exhaust pipe. Or, if you notice a strong eggy/sulphuric scent, well, yes it’s gross, but it’s also a sign that something is going wrong.

If your car is exhibiting any of these issues, don’t delay getting it checked out or you could be looking at even more extensive problems. Contact Your Import Car Doctor for a mechanic you can trust in Colorado Springs!