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Warning Signs of Various Car Problems

Updated August 12, 2014

Cars seem to develop mechanical or electrical problems at the worst possible times. Just when you’re heading out for a long journey or when you’re driving to an important meeting.

But most of these problems have early warning signs that can help you spot a potential problem in the making. If you spot these car problems early then you will often be able to get them fixed before they develop into something more severe and dangerous.


I think we can all agree that brakes are very important; without them we tend to crash into things.

So with that obvious statement in mind, here are some early warning signs for brakes.

  • When you hit your brakes, if you notice the car pulls to the left or right then that is a sign of impending brake problems. Seek help!
  • If you hear a screeching sound when braking then your pads are probably low and you should get them inspected as soon as possible. If you ignore this sound then it will probably change to a grinding type noise which may mean you also need to repair or replace the brake disks as well.
  • Another sign of trouble is the brakes vibrating.
  • And the obvious one to look out for is the brake warning light.

Do not ignore any of these brake warning signs!


Having healthy tyres is something that every driver should check for regularly. You can read an in depth article about tyre safety for all the things to look out for but the two main things are;

  • The Tread Depth.
  • Air Pressure.

At which depth levels you should change your tyre can vary but generally a good recommendation is 2mm.

Again the recommended tyre pressure varies from model to model, so I suggest you look up your car on the Internet or read your vehicle manual for your particular minimum tread depths. You can either pump up the tyre yourself or it can be done at most garages.


A good way of detecting potential car problems is by using your noise, literally!

If you notice a burning smell then it could be;

  • Your transmission overheating. This can be caused by many things including low levels of transmission fluids.
  • Low oil levels.
  • Oil leaking somewhere.

And if you notice a petrol smell then you may have inadvertently flooded the engine. Usually allowing some time to pass (around 5 minutes) will solve this problem and let you start your car again.

If you smell something like old socks while the air-con or heater is on, assuming you don’t actually have any old socks in your car then it could be mildew growing inside the air-con unit. You can try turning off the air-con and run the fan on high setting for a while. This may cure the problem.



Dan is an online author who greatly enjoys driving and buying cars and recommends Auto Co a car dealer in Auckland as they import hundreds of used vehicles from Japan for lower prices. They also offer various pre-checks on their vehicles to show potential car problems.

You can also follow the Auto Co Facebook page for their latest news and offers.



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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