What are the Top 5 Maintenance Warning Signs?

Your vehicle’s maintenance is important to stay on top of. It’s easy to keep up with a maintenance schedule. But what about the time in between? As much as we’d love it, our vehicles don’t stick hard and fast to that schedule. Fortunately, they often provide signs and signals that there is something wrong before leaving us stranded with a failure. So what are the top five maintenance warning signs to be on the lookout for?

Reduced Efficiency

A smart car owner will track their vehicle’s fuel efficiency regularly. Particularly with the brutal fuel costs, you need to be aware of how much fuel you’re using. But it’s not just about keeping costs down – a drop in fuel efficiency can also be an early warning sign of car problems! Reduced efficiency can indicate that maintenance is necessary to check for:

  • Defective fuel injectors
  • Clogged or damaged oil filters
  • Tires going bad
  • Failing or misfiring spark plugs
  • Old or poor-quality oil
  • … and more!
  • Keep in mind your driving habits though. Going from a road trip over highways to urban driving, or driving more aggressively, or increased idling for warming up or cooling down the cabin in the extreme weather seasons can all reduce fuel efficiency.

    Learn Maintenance Warning Signs at Lancaster Toyota in East Petersburg, PA | Check engine light on on car dashboard

    Learn Maintenance Warning Signs at Lancaster Toyota in East Petersburg, PA | Two tool wrenches sitting on top of an engine
    Strange Sounds

    You might buy a vehicle based on its sound – whether it’s a roaring exhaust, a silent electric vehicle, or something in between. But there are some noises you don’t want to hear. Grinding, popping and clicking, or rhythmic squeaking at the wheels. Squealing, clunking, tapping, or banging under the hood. Brakes grinding or squealing. A howling or whining sound. All of these unexpected noises point to the need for maintenance.

    Uneven or Extreme Tire Wear

    Your tires tell a tale when it comes to the condition of your car. You should be checking up on them regularly – looking at the inflation levels as well as checking the tread depth and wear. The inflation level is something that changes regularly – losing or gaining a PSI every few weeks is not an indicator of any issues. However, uneven or extreme tire wear can indicate deeper problems with your vehicle. There are a few different types of uneven wear to look for:

  • Inner or outerwear refers to the tread on the inside or outside of the tire.
  • Center wear is the middle line of the tire.
  • Edge wear comes on the portion of the tire that switches from the tread to the sidewalls.
  • Cupping wear is a unique, scalloping pattern that shows up with high and low spots.
  • Patchy wear is random, patchy spots that don’t necessarily have a location or pattern in common.
  • These different types of wear point to different causes, but they all indicate a need for maintenance!

    Shaking and Vibrations

    A smooth ride is at the heart of modern vehicles. If your vehicle shakes, shimmies, or vibrates in any way, this is a warning sign that maintenance is needed. It could be something as simple as unbalanced wheels or incorrectly inflated tires… or something as complex and worrisome as a bad motor mount or brake issues. Pay attention to what actions you’re taking when this occurs as well – this will help you talk to your service advisor, as knowing when vibrations are happening is the best way to focus on the likely culprit.

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    Sluggishness and Poor Response

    When you step on the gas, you want to go! If there is hesitance in your vehicle to respond, it’s clear that there is something wrong. It can be more common in a vehicle with tons of miles on the engine and chassis – and sometimes, just like in humans, it is a simple sign of age. But in a newer vehicle, sluggishness and slow acceleration is a sign that maintenance is needed. Particularly if you are on and off the highway, you need to be getting up to speed as fast as oncoming traffic.

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    Don’t Forget!
    These five warning signs are letting you know that a check-up and maintenance are vital to your vehicle! Once these start popping up, make sure to bring your car, truck, or SUV in for servicing at Lancaster Toyota as soon as possible. It’ll help you avoid becoming stranded and breakdowns so you don’t have any daily headaches and will prolong your vehicle’s lifespan. Pay attention to your vehicle, and it will serve you well! Get your vehicle taken care of by certified pros at Lancaster Toyota. Contact our service center today.