8 Signs It’s Time for a Tune-Up

Your car is talking to you, and it's asking you for a little TLC. While that sounds like the beginning of an ill-advised ABC Family mid-week movie, it's not too far from the truth. Maintaining your vehicle and performing regular check-ups should be part of your yearly routine. Consider your car as you would a human: you've got to go in for a check-up at least once a year. Regular tune-ups can add years of value to your car's life. And if you're not quite sure that it's time to take 'er in, mind these eight glaring signals that you're already past due.

  1. You Car Is Screaming At You

    If your car sounds like it's howling in pain every time you turn the wheel, check your power steering fluid. Better yet, get a tune-up. And if your steering starts to sound grinding, you might have a leak (or just awful perceptions of proper car maintenance). Have a mechanic check everything out, and be a little sweeter to your ride.

  2. Your Check Engine Light Is On

    This one's a no-brainer, but one we so often ignore. If the check engine light comes on, don't just take note of it and add it to your laundry list of to-dos. We've all seen that list. You haven't cleaned out your attic in 12 years. If your car is flashing words at you, take it as an undeniably clear message. Getting a tune-up at this time should be one of your top priorities.

  3. Your Car Inexplicably Stalls

    It's the little things in life, isn't it? If your car stalls once, it's a good idea to get a tune-up. Stalling happens due to a plethora of subtle issues that are best for a mechanic to test and tweak.

  4. You're Getting Bad Gas Mileage

    If you get regular oil changes and you're still getting less-than-stellar gas mileage, schedule a tune-up for your vehicle soon. Check your brakes, oil, and tire pressure before diagnosing a problem, or just let the pros have a look.

  5. You Smell Rotten Eggs

    If you smell rotten eggs, you could be having a stroke. But if you smell them in your car, you're probably having an issue with your catalytic converter. Your emissions system needs some love; make sure you have it checked during regular tune-ups.

  6. You've Never Had A Tune-Up

    If you've never taken your car in for a tune-up and you've got a high mileage car, don't be surprised if it breaks down or stalls. Be pro-active and take your vehicle into the shop — a longer-lasting car will make you glad you did.

  7. Your Transmission Completely Fails You

    The most common sign that your transmission needs a tune-up is a difficulty in shifting gears. But you ignored those sticky gears, didn't you? You noted them and moved on. When you aren't kicking into gear in a normal fashion, it's time to head in for a tune-up.

  8. Your Car is Broken Down On The Side of the Road

    Uh-oh. If your car breaks down and you're behind on a tune-up, consider yourself warned. Not only do you need to call roadside assistance (like, right now), but let this be a lesson that you should take better care of your vehicle. Cars are expensive assets that we trust to get us from place to place. Respect and care for your wheels!

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