October officially marks the beginning of Car Care Month and it couldn't come at a better time, considering many motorists will need to make sure their cars are in the best condition during the fall and winter months.
According to the Car Care Council, vehicles can communicate by using their own language, which could include anything from squealing, hissing or thumping to grinding, warning motorists that they need to do something to make sure their car is repaired before it's too late.
Considering many Americans are still not in the best financial position from the recession, which left many with no choice but to hold on to their older vehicles a bit longer, car maintenance is a necessity to ensure the best performance out of their vehicles.
"It's important for car owners to listen and act accordingly when their vehicle speaks up," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "By checking out what your vehicle is saying, you can take care of the problem now and avoid a breakdown or more costly repairs later."
Motorists are used to the sounds that their vehicle makes on a regular basis, but any new noises should be checked out by the owner or taken to an auto repair shop to get the problem taken care of before it leads to other repairs needing to be made.
"The number of sounds a vehicle may make are endless, so when your car is trying to tell you something, it's important to be alert, listen carefully and take action," White added.
If your car is making a high-pitched squeal that stops when the motorist is pressing on the brake pedal, the brake pads most likely need to be checked for wear. The brake pads might need to be replaced if they've been worn down enough.
If motorists hear a grinding noise, it could also be the result of worn brake pads that should be replaced. Sounds under the hood, such as hissing, can also be a major problem for motorists. Hissing noises could mean that there is a disconnect or cracked vacuum hose, while a squealing noise made when revving the engine could be the result of a drive belt slipping.
Thumping that increases when the gas pedal is pressed, accelerating the vehicle faster, could also mean that a trip to an automotive repair shop is in the car's future. The issue could be the cause of a tire problem like a bubble in the sidewall or torn rubber, which can ultimately lead to a blowout.
AAA also recently brought attention to motorists who have called on the help of the roadside assistance company in the last eight months. According to AAA, more than 18 million AAA roadside assistance calls were recorded from January through August for the United States and Canada.
"Whether you're expecting cooler temperatures, snow, rain or simply a little less sunshine, regular maintenance and seasonal checkups can help prevent unexpected repair costs in the future," said John Nielsen, director, AAA Automotive Engineering and Repair. "Properly preparing your vehicle for the next season of driving is essential for the safety of all passengers and will greatly decrease the chances of your vehicle letting you down."
AAA recommends that motorists keep an emergency road kit in their vehicle that includes a mobile phone, drinking water, first-aid kit, non perishable snacks and blankets, in addition to many other items that can be helpful in a time of need for a motorist who is stranded.