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7 General Warning Signs Your Car is Not Okay to Drive

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

Broken down car on the side of the road

As a car owner it's important to understand red flags when it comes to your vehicle. Taking the time to understand indicators of issues with your vehicle can help prevent further damage, resulting in lower repair costs and a longer life span for your vehicle.

1. Warning lights

Red flashing warning lights are an indicator of an immediate problem, mean deal with this immediately, pull over and figure out what symbol is flashing, assess what it means, then call a mechanic to make an appointment to get your car fixed. If your unsure how safe your car is to drive, call road side assistance to transport your vehicle to the repair shop.

*Some flashing red symbols are your car trying to instruct you to do something (ex. put your seat belt on, remove your emergency brake) while other are an indicator of a larger problem (ex. check engine light, ABS light) which is why its important to understand your vehicle before driving it. We suggest reading your owners manual to get familiar with your dashboard symbols and other warning signs you car may give off.

2. Squealing when applying the brakes (Or any strange noise)

As a driver it's crucial to take note when something is off with your brakes. If your brakes make a squealing sound when applied it's usually because your brake pads are wearing out and need to be replaced soon. Other noises such as grinding, can mean your brake pad is completely worn out and needs to be replaced immediately.

The life span of your brakes can range due to vehicle type, driving style and vehicle use. If your unsure ask your mechanic or do research on your vehicle and it's brake pads. Average brake pad life is somewhere between 25,000 miles (40,234 km) to 60,000 miles (96,560 km).

* It's important to get your brakes checked on a regular basis, like during an oil change.

3. Oil Spots

Oil spots underneath your vehicle are of indicator of leaks, Engine oil is usually dark black or brown, Keep your eye out for reoccurring oil spots that grow in size, in some cases oil spots are not cause for concern but if they continue to show up on a regular basis call you mechanic.

It's important to take note of the colour of the leaking fluid, this will help your mechanic identify where the the leak is coming from

4. Shaking Vehicle

There is a few different reasons for a shaking vehicle, engine problems, brake issues & tire troubles are just a few. The best thing to do if you have a shaky vehicle is take it in as soon as you notice the problem, it may just be a small issue but if it's not your putting your life at risk as well as others around you.

5. Slow to turn over

The cold can affect your vehicles ability to turn over, but it's usually a symptom of a larger engine issue. Take note of influencing factors such as if you had already been driving that day and temperature. A slow starting vehicle could mean a dying car battery, a failing starter or issues with your vehicles spark plugs.

Make an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible to have this looked at, its important to be timely with this since next time your car stalls it may not start up at all and you will likely have to call a tow truck.

6. Strange noises

Any reoccurring unidentifiable noises indicates a larger problem, if your vehicle is making a strange noise ask your mechanic. Different factors may help your mechanic identify the problem quicker, so make sure to keep track of the attributing variables, such as speed, affecting the strange noises coming from inside your vehicle.

7. Smoke

Smoke is a clear indicator that your vehicle is not safe to drive, pull over and call road side assistance, if your hood is smoking your engine may be over heating and it's important to get that looked at right away before causing further damage.

Keep on top of regular maintenance to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle, educate yourself on the vehicle you drive (check out our video garage to learn more about how your car works) and don't ignore any signs that your vehicle may need to get repaired.

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