By Peter Hill

Gold Coast Mechanic ChecklistThe question of how often you need to get your car serviced is one that attracts many differing opinions, says Gold Coast mechanic Auto King.

Some manufacturers recommend a major, comprehensive service every 12 months, many are recommended every six months and a number of service centres will ask you to bring your car in every three months for a minor service. So who do you listen to?

In general, it’s best to be guided by your Gold Coast mechanic and service log book or owner’s manual. These will set down clear service schedules based on the recommendations of the manufacturer of your car’s make and model. They are based on time frame or mileage, whichever occurs first.

There are, however, some very clear warning signs that indicate your car needs immediate attention, regardless of where you are in your service schedule and even if you are between regular services. Call a reputable Gold Coast mechanic right away if you experience any of the following:

Smoke coming from underneath the bonnet This is a sign that the engine is over-heating and continuing to drive if overheating can damage the engine irreparably. Be aware of the temperature gauge on the dashboard. If the car is heating up, pull over until it cools, and call for assistance right away.

Excessive exhaust smoke Indicates an oil leak. There may also be a black residue at the bumper area near the exhaust pipe. Ask your Gold Coast mechanic.

Flashing “Check Engine” light This is indicative that something is amiss in the vehicle’s computer system – and flashing is a sign it is a major problem and requires urgent attention.

Leaks Any leaks under the car need diagnosis by a Gold Coast mechanic quickly. In summer, water from air conditioners drips from under the front passenger side; this is normal. Abnormal leaks which need to be checked quickly include coolant (green), and transmission oil, brake fluid, and engine oil (brown/black or dark red).

Changes to operation of the car Does the car feel strange to drive? Are there dramatic surges, or is there difficulty achieving speed? Does the engine cough, chug, vibrate or stall? Does it feel like it’s labouring? Get it checked promptly.

Strange noises while driving These include droning or dragging from the wheels, grinding or squealing when braking, or other abnormal noises for your car.

Call Auto King – the Gold Coast mechanic specialists – to come to you for immediate or emergency servicing of your car, even if you’ve only recently had it serviced.

Addressing issues as soon as they arise is not only safer for you and everyone else on the road; it will cost you less in the long term.

To book an appointment with a Gold Coast mechanic at Auto King call 1300 09 29 49.