How to Tell When your Car Needs Service

Driving a car can be expensive. You have to find the money to pay for fuel, register your car, and insure it. And then there’s the cost of maintenance. If your car suddenly breaks down, then you might find yourself faced with a sizeable bill. You may not have insurance or the savings to be able to repair it right away, leaving you in an inconvenient situation. Therefore, anything you can do to limit the damage is surely worth doing.

When it comes to the health of your car, prevention is almost always better than cure. By booking your car in for a regular service, you’ll be able to spot potential malfunctions before they have a chance to develop into something more severe (and expensive). 

Not only this, but you can also drive with peace of mind knowing that your car is working correctly and safely. But when’s the right time to book a car service? There are several warning signs that might clue you in and encourage you to consider your car’s health. Here’s how to tell when your car needs service.

How to Tell When your Car Needs Service

Dashboard Warning Lights

A modern car will come equipped with an onboard computer, whose job is to monitor all of the various components that allow the vehicle to function. From low window washer fluid to a serious engine malfunction, the dashboard is the path to the internal health of your car. 

If something goes wrong, the computer will try to alert you via a warning light on your dashboard. If you’re getting warnings, even if they’re only intermittent, it’s a sign that the car needs to be given expert attention. Sometimes, the car will even display a warning related to the fact that it hasn’t been serviced in a while. 

You should consider acting relatively soon when these lights appear, as the car is designed to indicate any problems or issues to the driver. Any lights that have been on for a long period, pose a danger to the driver and any passengers. 


The brakes are among the most important safety features of your car. If they’re not functioning properly, then you’re putting not only yourself at risk, but other road users and pedestrians, too. If you find that you’re having to apply the brakes extra hard, then it tends to be a sign that either the fluid is leaking, or that the pads are worn. 

This is even more vital in the winter months, when roads can be icy and driving conditions can be dangerous. We recommend that you get your brakes checked by a professional immediately, both in the wintertime and in the summertime.


Cars produce unexplained smoke for a whole host of reasons. Sometimes, it’s urgent for instance if there is a component in the car that is leaking oil or electrical wiring issues. 

If there’s a fire in your car, or if you notice smoke coming out of your car whilst driving, you should pull over immediately and turn off the engine. 

If you feel comfortable, you can restart the car once the smoke has subsided and the heat has decreased. Otherwise, you should consider calling your breakdown provider to get the car towed to a local garage or mechanic. 

If you’re just getting intermittently visible smoke from the exhaust as you start your engine, then this might just be a warning sign that your car needs to be checked out. However, we would still recommend getting this checked out. 

Strange Vibrations

As you drive your car, you’ll become familiar with all of the various noises it makes. If one day it starts to make strange grinding or clicking noises, then it can be alarming. Problems of this sort usually stem from misalignment, either of the axles, driveshaft, or brake rotors. If the car feels ‘juddery’ it might be a result of the spark plugs being faulty.

Again, this can be dangerous as a faulty axle or misaligned brake rotor can cause a malfunction in other components within the car’s body. 

Whatever the source of the problem, a service should be able to identify and fix it before further knock-on issues begin to develop.

These are just a few factors to look out for when you are driving. Sometimes, a full service may not be required to resolve one of the above issues. But usually, when a combination of these begins to appear, it is likely that your car needs checking over. 

The cost of a service can vary depending on the location and the extent of what is checked. So we recommend gathering costs and quotes from a variety of providers to get the very best deal in your area. Also, remember to check reviews from other customers to make sure that you will get the very best service.

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