Like human being health, motor vehicles too, have or show signs or indicators that there is a mechanical problem. As a driver, you may deliberately ignore certain signs on your car until a point when it fails to move or start at all. To some extent, it could be due to a small financial muscle to have your car attended to.

Black smoke
Ben Mugisha, a mechanic at Crown Fuel Station in Kyanja says when your car releases black smoke from the exhaust pipe, which he says is a common characteristic that manifests in both ageing petrol and diesel cars, it means that the car could be burning too much fuel to keep the engine running.

“Black smoke from your exhaust pipe could mean that your air filter is clogged with a lot of dirt or that your fuel injectors are worn out. It could as well mean that some parts of your engine need to be cleaned up well,” Mugisha explains.

When you start your car, you don’t expect it to stop until you reach your destination. Even when there is fuel and it fails to restart, Mugisha says it would have stalled, an abrupt stopping by the engine.

“When your car engine doesn’t receive the required clean air from the air cleaner, it may fail to run again.

And if the fuel in your car is dirty or has been mixed with other immiscible liquids like water, it can cause the engine to stall because the spark plug will not have the fire power to start the engine,” he says. Beyond these, Mugisha advises that there are other factors that cause a car to stall.

Dashboard warning lights
Most drivers, Paul Guma, a mechanic at Shell Old Kampala observes, usually ignore warning lights on their car dashboards. Before they know it, he says, the mechanical problem becomes bigger than it should have, if it had been attended to earlier.

“One of the most sensitive signs that will appear on your dashboard is one that advises you to check the engine.

It could be indicating that your engine spark plug is old and failure to replace it could reduce your engine performance. You may also need to attend to any other faults beyond the spark plug to prevent other consequences,” Guma advises.

Unexpected noises
Much as your car may not make noises during its first days on the road, as time goes on, developing unexpected sounds may not be optional.

Mugisha advises that if your car develops abrupt grinding sounds especially when starting the engine, it may call for inspection by your mechanic in the engine compartment or within the brake or wheel system to identify the cause.

Foul smells
Like a house, cars too, irrespective of the brand, sometimes exhibit bad odours both inside and outside.

While Mugisha reiterates that bad odour from a car usually emanates from tyres and brakes as a result of instant or sudden braking, Mugisha reasons that when there is a fuel leakage in the system fuel flow, it requires immediate attention to establish the cause.

This, he says does not only lead to fast fuel consumption but it may also cause discomfort of the car occupants. In worst scenarios, Mugisha says leakages especially in petrol engines cause the car to burn if the fuel leaks in an area that has overheated.