Virginia Auto Service

7 Scary Things That Can Happen While Driving

Sure, we’ve all see that “check engine light” come on, but did you know that you should pull over right away if it’s flashing?

Check Engine light

There are a lot of things that can go wrong while driving on our Arizona roads, especially damage caused to our cars by the extreme desert heat, that we may not know about.

Matt Allen, co-host of Bumper to Bumper Radio, heard every Saturday morning at 11 on 92.3 FM, KTAR, and owner of Virginia Auto Service in Phoenix, gives us a list of 7 scary things that can go wrong while driving.

If any of these occur to you, you should pull over IMMEDIATELY!

1. Flashing Yellow Light on the Dashboard: Basic rule of thumb, there are yellow lights and there are red lights on the dashboard of your car. Yellow lights are caution lights and an indicator that you need to check on something. However, if the yellow “Check Engine” light is flashing, that is an indication of something seriously wrong. You should pull over immediately. It could indicate an engine misfire and if not dealt with, the catalytic converter could be seriously damaged, costing thousands to repair.

2. Red Light on the Dashboard: If a red light comes on that’s a sign that something is urgently wrong and you should pull over immediately. Examples of red lights could be  the engine light, battery charge warning light, brake system warning light, or the oil pressure warning light. If any of these warning lights stay on after starting or illuminates during a journey, stop immediately, switch off the engine and check to see what is wrong.

3. Sudden Loss of Power Steering: A loss of power steering could indicate a broken belt. The issue is that new model cars only have one belt in the engine and that belt regulates the power steering water pump, alternator and more. If that belt breaks other components will be affected as well and could cause serious and expensive damage to the engine.

4. Burning, Sweet, or Acidic Smells: Unusual smells emanating from the car could be the sign of a serious leak. Antifreeze smells sweet when it burns and if you smell that it could indicate radiator damage or leakage to the radiator. You don’t want to drive the car without any radiator fluid, it will burn the car up.

5. Smoke or Steam Coming from the Engine: Smoke could indicate fire, or oil leaking onto a hot engine; neither good. Steam could indicate sudden loss of coolant in the radiator. Again, if you continue driving, you can put yourself and your car in serious danger.

6. Loud Knocking Noise Coming from the Engine: Indicates damage has already occurred in the engine. Could be a broken fan, water pump, loss of oil or more. Do not continue to drive!! Pull over immediately!

7. Brakes Not Working Properly: If you push on the brake pedal and it goes all the way to the floor, something is wrong. Also, if you see the red brake light on your dash, pull over immediately.