Many vehicle owners put off getting their car into the shop unless signs of an obvious problem are present. However, by getting regular vehicle maintenance, many serious problems can be avoided and prevented. It’s easy for people to forget that a car is a complex piece of machinery, composed of an abundance of moving parts, that all work together. With each mile that passes, those parts experience wear and tear. Even if you’re not trekking back and forth from coast to coast, the miles spent cruising around town still add up just the same. By scheduling regular maintenance, you can help to ensure that your car is running effectively and efficiently.

But how do you know when it’s time for a tune-up? Here are five LOF-Xpress™ approved signs that your vehicle needs a stop in our shop:

Difficulty starting the car or hard starts.

You put your key in, turn, and…nothing. Maybe it takes a couple turns to get the car running or perhaps it only stays running for a short time. Whatever the case, if starting the vehicle takes more than one turn of your key, then you have a problem. There are many possible scenarios for hard starts – among them are a weak battery, defective starter, and fuel line problem or sensor/ignition mechanism computer error.

Stalling – occasionally OR frequently.

If your vehicle has started stalling at intersections, while trying to accelerate, or at other times, not only is this a warning sign of trouble, but it also can put you in a dangerous situation. Engines are designed to deliver reliable performance, particularly when you need it most, such as merging onto a highway. Causes for stalling can be anything from faulty spark plugs to dirty connectors. Pay close attention to the situations in which the car stalls. For example — does it stall when it’s cold? Hot? When the air conditioner is running? This information will help our technicians identify the source of the problem.

Car is “knocking.”

This is a noise generally heard when the engine is under load, such as when accelerating or climbing a hill. While it can be caused by a tank full of inferior gas, ignition knock is often a sign that your engine needs attention. It also can be caused by a buildup of carbon inside the engine.

Many late model cars are equipped with a knock sensor that “hear” the sound and can make corrective adjustments. However, it cannot compensate for a severe malfunction or a condition that can affect engine performance, and even damage the engine.

Warning lights.

These dashboard indicators that light up when starting the car and that sometimes stay illuminated are there for a reason – to indicate a problem or potential issue with a vehicle system or component. We encourage you to pay close attention to these indicator lights, and when they illuminate, get them diagnosed ASAP. Warning lights can indicate something as simple as a burned out taillight, low tire pressure, or a more serious problem, such as a transmission failure. Diagnosing and fixing a minor problem can help you avoid a much bigger and more expensive issue down the road.

Poor gas mileage.

The price of gas rises and plummets frequently, but you should know your car well enough to recognize when you’re not getting your money’s worth of gas. Like most other things on this list, poor fuel mileage is an indicator of bigger problems. Poor gas mileage also may be due to:
• Underinflated tires
• Engine running too cold
• Transmission malfunction
• Dragging brakes
• Misaligned wheels