Unfortunately, your vehicle, just as all material things put into the active use, will show the signs that it needs to be fixed up before you can continue driving it. Whether your engine refuses to function correctly and gives you hard time while you try to start your car or drive it smoothly, or makes your vehicle stop in the middle of nowhere, produces weird noises that creep you out and sounds like something terrible is about to happen, you should not ignore those signs.

Drive straight to the auto repair shop to get your car examined for some internal malfunction and eliminate the latter before it deteriorates to the point when it influences other systems in a bad way and breaks down completely.

5 main signs your car is due for a tune-up

  1. Engine lights on the dashboard. Those rarely light up when your car is perfectly fine. They only show up when the diagnostic system of your vehicle detects an issue you haven’t managed to notice yet or reminds you of a required maintenance procedure you should never miss. Thus, don’t ignore that annoying lights and make them disappear by tackling the problem at the right place and time. 
  2. Increased fuel consumption. If you’ve been driving the same vehicle for a while, you know how much gas it uses to run a certain number of miles and how often you need to fill the tank up. However, if you notice that your car runs out of fuel faster than before, thus its energy efficiency has declined, you may consider that fact as a side effect of a major hidden breakdown that has to be discovered and repaired by an experienced auto repair pro.
  3. Your car refuses to start right away. The increased difficulty when starting the car might indicate a number of issues that aren’t that hard for an average driver to eliminate on his own. It could be just a dying battery you need to charge after forgetting to turn the lights off that doesn’t let you start your car as you normally do and makes you late to work. But, a faulty ignition switch might also be the culprit of the issue, especially if it is paired with the weird spurting at the higher speed. And, similar symptoms might indicate starter motor troubles and numerous other problems you should not leave unsolved. Thus, if you have to turn the engine over a couple of times before your vehicle decides to start, you have definitely something to look into.
  4. Your vehicle occasionally stalls. Stalling is a major red flag, as it not only warns about the upcoming need of a tune-up, but it’s also quite dangerous on the road. So, if it often happens that you press the acceleration pedal and notice the delayed reaction of your car (it lags before actually moving forward), you’ll most likely have to get your ignition system checked.
  5. Black smoke coming out from the exhaust pipe. It refers to the fuel efficiency and means that your car’s engine is burning too much gas. Most likely, it’s the improper fuel to air mix that makes your car exhale black stinking clouds. The things the mechanics will probably check are the air filter, sensors, fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator and fuel return line. And while this issue is one of the easiest to tackle, it’s not the reason to put off the visit to the auto repairs to save some cash, as you’ll waste on the excessive fuel consumption much more that you’d spend on a quick tune-up.
  6. Knocking sounds and lower power when going uphill. They usually indicate general engine and sparks system issues you won’t be able to determine and repair without special knowledge and equipment. And, as these tendencies deteriorate the driving safety, you should stop them as soon as possible by bringing your vehicle to the experienced pros to get it tuned up.
  7. Rough gear shifting. It’s the sign of a faulty transmission system that has to be fixed before your transmission gets too ruined by the rough gear shifting and requires costly replacement.

So, those were the main signals you should pay close attention to while driving your car and consider them as the direct invitation to the auto repair shop. Obviously, if your car stops in the middle of nowhere, you’ll have no other choice than calling towing services to deliver it to the mechanics. But it’s better to be proactive and get your car examined and tuned up on a regular basis to prevent major issues and road accidents caused by a faulty engine.