Signs your car needs a repair service now

You know the feeling of panic that hits when smoke comes out of the hood of your car or something violently hits your windshield? Just like when you’re dating, there are red flags when it comes to driving. Sometimes you can overcome them, but sometimes you have to cut ties right away. Or, in the case of your car, get it fixed…quickly. So we teamed up with Safelite® to break down the signs that mean it’s time to take your car to the garage ASAP.

Your car stalls

Have you ever been at a red light and your car takes a little longer to accelerate (or doesn’t accelerate at all) when you press the accelerator? It’s… not great. It can mean a number of things, from a faulty fuel pump to an ignition problem. All the things you don’t want your car to experience while you’re driving it. Now is not the time for a “wait and see” approach. If you feel your car is taking a long time to start, no matter how hard you press the pedal, pull over and call for backup.

There is smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe

Your car could be dunzo (Laguna lovers, this one’s for you). If you notice smoke, there is almost certainly something wrong. But it can mean several different things.

If the smoke is blue or gray, oil may have leaked into your engine’s combustion chamber (where the fuel/air mixture ignites). If the smoke is black, your engine is probably burning too much fuel or your air filter is dirty. Thick white smoke could mean a damaged head gasket (which prevents engine fluid leaks), a cracked engine block (hint: what’s holding all the components that make up the bottom of the engine together), or a small coolant leak , which can lead to overheating .

Pro Tip: Check your dashboard lights to see if the engine light or oil level light is on. This might help you pinpoint the problem.

Your windshield is chipped or cracked

It might not feel like an urgent matter, but anything from flying debris to a sudden change in temperature can damage the windshield. The crack may start out small, but it’s important to get it fixed before it grows. Because repairing the minor chip or crack costs less $$$ than replacing the entire windshield.

Our friends from Safelite make vehicle windshield replacements and repairs a breeze. And they also work with most major insurance companies, so you can pay yourself or use your insurance. Make an appointment in a few minutes online at one of the their many convenient locations. In some cases, the technician can even come to your home.

By the way, if you’re driving a newer model and replacing your windshield, you’ll probably need your advanced security system. recalibrated too. Since your car’s forward-facing camera is attached to the windshield, it will be moved when installing the windshield. The good news: Safelite experts will recalibrate the advanced safety system to manufacturer standards so features like emergency braking and collision warning continue to work properly.

You hear a knocking noise in your engine

If you feel like there’s a rolling billiard ball in your engine, definitely don’t ignore it. Because it could blow your engine. Scary, we know. This knocking noise may mean that your spark plugs (i.e. what ignites the fuel-air mixture that starts your car) are not working properly, or that there is not enough spark plugs. octane in the fuel-air mixture, among other things. And these are all issues that you will need a professional mechanic to fix.

Your brakes are spongy

Yes, that’s one thing. When you step on your brakes, there should be solid pressure the whole time you push. If at any point it feels “soft” or “spongy” when you press down, it could be a sign that your car’s brake master cylinder is failing. Ignoring this could lead to faster wear of your brake pads, impact on braking performance and even brake failure. So, yeah, it’s pretty serious.

Your headlights are not working properly

Oh oh. Although it doesn’t seem like an emergency on a sunny day, it’s definitely not allowed for night driving. The likely culprit? A blown fuse. If this is a one-time event, take your car to the store to have this fuse replaced. But if it happens multiple times, you might want to have your entire electrical system checked by a mechanic.


Car problems are the worst. But once you’ve learned to recognize the signs of a potentially serious problem, you can handle it like a boss without stress or worry. And focus on where you need to go.

Psst…find a Safelite location near you here.

Daniel C. Williams