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Tue, Oct. 22

What's that sound?: Local mechanic shares most common repair indicators

Local mechanic Cameron Clark checks out a car’s engine. There are several indicators from dashboard lights to sounds that can be hints as to what needs to be addressed on your vehicle. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

Local mechanic Cameron Clark checks out a car’s engine. There are several indicators from dashboard lights to sounds that can be hints as to what needs to be addressed on your vehicle. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

Winter is coming — is your car ready?

Local mechanic Cameron Clark says that the wintertime is one of the biggest times for cars to start needing repairs. It can affect a lot of the car’s fluids or even give the tires what’s called a cold snap, Clark said.

“They lose pressure. When you go out in the morning, your tire light will come on because they’ve dropped six to seven psi,” he said. “The weather ruins a lot of things.”

Unsure as to whether it’s time to take the car in to get it checked? Clark has the top five indicators for when you should take your car in to get fixed if you don’t know how to do it yourself.

Dashboard lights: Typically, lights will come on to signal that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

Smells: If you’re smelling something like fuel, burning oil or any type of coolant, then it’s time.

"If you smell coolant burning or any type of weird, sweet smell, it’s typically coolant leaking somewhere,” he said. “It means you’re losing it and you can hurt your engine that way.”

Vibrations: Usually, when something is vibrating, that means your parts are wearing out.

Sounds and noises: Belt squeals are a big indicator that something needs to be fixed. In the wintertime, they can get too cold and start making noise, he said. If you turn your key or hear a squeal in the morning, that means there’s no lubrication on the bearings.

The biggest sound though is the brakes, Clark said.

“When your brakes squeak or grind or anything like that, you want to bring it in right away,” he said. “If you start going metal to metal, then you’re damaging more than just pads.”

Leaks: If you see any type of leaks on the ground, specifically coolant, it’s time to bring the car in.

According to pepboys.com, the color is an indication of what’s leaking.

• Red means it’s a problem with the transmission or power steering system.

• Orange could be rust in the radiator causing an antifreeze leak or condensation to appear that color or it could be transmission fluid depending on its age.

• Yellow is most commonly radiator coolant.

• Green is antifreeze.

• Blue is windshield wiper fluid.

• Clear is usually condensation from the air conditioning system.

• Dark brown could be motor oil or brake fluid.

• Light brown is usually either newer motor oil or gear lubricant.

• Pink is likely either power steering or transmission fluid.

With winter on the way, how is your car doing?

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