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Time to Visit the Mechanic? Addressing Some of the Most Common Vehicle Issues

Is the check engine light flashing or the steering feels off? Learn more about some common vehicle issues.
10-2 Common issues
Image by Aleš Kartal from Pixabay

Our vehicles are definitely some of the highest maintenance items in our lives. Even with proper preventative maintenance, components inevitably end up requiring repair. But when should you make the call in to your favourite mechanic? We’ve broken down some of the most common vehicle issues to help you figure out when is the right time to visit the auto shop.


Brakes require routine inspection and replacement. If your brakes are squealing, it is time to have them looked at. In fact, the noise that brake pads make when they are wearing down is an intentional addition to many vehicles to alert the driver to replace the brake pads. Expect to replace your brake pads and shoes approximately every 50,000 kilometres, though the timing may vary greatly between vehicles.

Dashboard Warning Lights

Modern vehicles give a number of clues regarding the state of the vehicle. Some lights require immediate attention while others can wait.

  • The check engine light is the most mysterious because it can indicate a number of problems. If this light comes on and the vehicle starts to make alarming noises or isn’t working as it should, pull over immediately and call a tow truck. If the vehicle seems fine, then it is probably safe to drive to your mechanic’s shop to have it looked at.
  • If the battery light comes on but the vehicle starts and runs ok, then it is time to make an appointment with your mechanic. It could indicate a problem with the battery, wiring, or alternator.
  • The low oil pressure light indicates that your vehicle is low in oil. The oil level should be checked immediately and topped up. If the light comes on again, then the vehicle may have an oil leak.

Wheel Alignment

Another common problem that most vehicle owners will encounter at some point is poor wheel alignment. There are a few clues that you may need to schedule a wheel alignment: your vehicle is pulling while you are driving, the steering feels loose, it feels like it is vibrating, and the wheel isn’t centred when you are driving straight. Misalignment leads to poor fuel efficiency, it inhibits your vehicle’s ability to swerve properly, and can cause excessive wear on your tires.

Exhaust Issues

Black smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe is not normal and neither is a bad smell. You may have a problem with the catalytic converter and/or the O2 sensor. You should visit the mechanic soon to make sure these issues don’t get worse.

Overall, if your vehicle is doing something unexpected then you should give your favourite mechanic shop a call. Keeping your vehicle running well ensures that it is efficient, it helps to avoid bigger problems in the future, and most importantly, it is safe.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Davis Chevrolet for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more
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