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Let’s face it, when it comes to the mechanics of our faithful vehicles, there are many things that can go wrong, especially on older models or when proper maintenance isn’t carried out in a routine fashion. In order to avoid finding yourself in tough situations, like looking for help on the side of a busy freeway, check into these 5 tips that your car may be in trouble, and act on them should they happen to you.

Smells Like Breakfast

This may sound funny, but many people report the scent of maple syrup emanating from beneath the hood of the car. This usually delightful smell is not so fondly accepted when it has to do with your automobile, as it tends to indicate your cooling system is failing. This is usually followed by a leakage of green fluid, and should be seen to by a mechanic as soon as possible to avoid an overheated engine.

Slapping Sounds Outside Your Vehicle

As the tread separates from the body of your tire it will emit a slapping sound, especially as you gain speed. Ignoring this noise can mean severe body damage and loss of the tire, so pull over right away and be prepared with a spare.

Whining From the Hood

If, as your speed increases, so too does an annoying squeal from the front section of your car, then you’re probably experiencing a damaged alternator or pump belt. This is severe, and should be treated as such, since ignoring it could mean a dead vehicle on the side of the road with no service station in sight. As some of the accessories affected by these belts can control things like power steering, the safest bet for this kind of indicator is to take it in to be fixed as soon as possible and avoid driving until you can.

Puddles In The Parking Lot

The color of a puddle beneath your vehicle can tell you a lot about what’s wrong with your car. Fluid of a reddish nature can indicate a leak in your transmission tube, oily fluid near or on your wheel can mean a rupture in your break line, clear greasy liquid means power steering has been compromised, and dark slippery oil could be the result of an improperly installed filter or crack in your drain plug.

Grinding Down Your Pads

Grinding sounds can mean a few things (none of them good), and should be checked out as soon as you can get your car into a mechanic. This could be anything from your brake pads wearing down to the rotor and stripping metal from your car, to a failing CV joint. The connotation of these noises often result in a little extra money needing to be spent, but avoiding repairs can lead to double the cost when more parts are required as an end result.

We have tons of helpful tips on our blog, be sure to give them a read!

Also visit our Automotive Knowledge Center on our site for more helpful information.