When Your Car is Telling You It Needs to See a Mechanic

A car owner should never overlook signs that their car may be experiencing mechanical difficulty, as this can mean allowing one problem to cause several other problems; in many cases, a part that is breaking down can make other parts work harder and suffer excess wear and tear. Ignoring signs of problems can also make your car unsafe when on the road. Note a few times when you car may be telling you that it needs to see a mechanic and what you might expect by way of needed repairs.

Sputtering, stalling, no pickup

If your car sputters when you're idling and even stalls or it has no pickup when you apply the gas pedal, this can often mean that there is a faulty oxygen sensor under the hood or a dirty throttle body. The oxygen sensor tells the throttle body how much oxygen to deliver to the engine and the exhaust system how much to take away, so that a healthy combustion can be maintained.

When the oxygen sensor fails, your car is not getting enough oxygen for that healthy combustion, so it stalls. If the throttle body is dirty, this too can mean a poor ratio of fuel to oxygen. The throttle body actually delivers the oxygen that the sensor notes your car needs; if it's dirty, it won't be able to push oxygen into the engine. Both fixes are relatively easy and affordable, so don't put off having them checked.

Difficulty getting the car out of park

If you have a hard time getting your car out of park, don't assume you need a new transmission. The cable that connects the shifter to the brake pedal may be damaged; if it cannot sense that your foot is on the brake, the car may not shift out of park. A transmission problem would usually mean trouble with other gears, but if it's just getting out of park that is the problem, have this cable checked.

Brakes grind when not wet

Wet brakes may grind because of that water that gets between the pads and the rotors, which doesn't allow for a smooth stop. However, once it stops raining or you stop driving on wet roads, this grinding should go away. If brakes grind and you know they're not wet, this often means the rotors or pads are so worn down that they cannot squeeze against each other smoothly. Ignoring this could mean the brakes going out on you completely.