Sensing Car Problems? Don’t Ignore These 6 Warning Signs.

From detecting scents to testing with cents.

Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to car problems—they can be costly and dangerous. Steer clear of car problems down the road by taking action if you experience these six cautionary signs. Follow the links to learn more about each one.

Your nose knows. Some car problems can first be detected by their odors, including scents of rotten eggs and burnt rubber. Find out what your car smell is telling you by taking our quiz.

When you hear a noise that you haven’t heard before, don’t assume it’s just the sound of your vehicle aging and is nothing to worry about. Here are car noises you shouldn’t ignore.

Lights on your dashboard can be anything from friendly reminders (your cruise control is on) to dire warnings (your engine is overheating). See how you should react.

Car problems described in recall letters are serious—and depending on the safety issue, driving an unrepaired vehicle can be dangerous. Find out how to handle a recall notice.

Even small chips should be repaired. If left alone, they can grow or take on water, fogging up the windshield and obstructing vision. Here’s what to do when your windshield takes a hit.

Look for damage and unusual tread wear—a sign of under- or overinflation, poor wheel alignment, or a problem with your car’s suspension. See how to use a quarter to check your tire tread depth.

The Bottom Line

Taking your vehicle to the shop for routine maintenance, such as an oil change or tire rotation, is one of the best ways to prevent it from breaking down on the road, but that alone isn’t enough to ensure a vehicle won’t ever break down. Having it periodically inspected by a certified technician helps identify problems before they stop you in your tracks.

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