We all grow an attachment to our vehicles. Some of us even give them names. It carries sentimental value and may have been a fundamental part of many memories. Our automobiles get us from place to place, are areas that promote family closeness, serve as gateways to adventure, and keep us safe. 

Maybe you've taken countless family road trips in your car, truck, or van or maybe it was your first major purchase. For most vehicle owners, there is a moment when you realize it could be time to trade up or trade-in for something that fits your current needs better. Read on to learn about our top telling signs you need a new car. 

Unfamiliar Noises

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Image via Flickr by truckhardware licensed by CC BY 2.0

Few things are as gratifying as the roar and purr of a new engine. And, few things are as troubling as when you hear the choking and sputtering of an engine struggling for power. At their base, cars are machines. When machines are working properly, you'll hear smooth gear shifts, wheels turn without the slightest indication of tightness or squeals, and belts spinning in silent unison. 

However, if you start hearing grinding, clunking, screeching, or squealing, these sounds may be signals that there is a something operating incorrectly. Even if the noise comes and goes, it is something that might be a safety issue. These noises can be the signs of worn-out breaks, failing bearing, belts that are brittle or slipping, or even a loose engine mount.

Odd Odors

Everyone loves that new car smell. Fresh leather, smooth plastic and vinyl, and untouched carpet and rubber mats fill the nostrils each time you enter, until it doesn't. While vehicles evolve to have a scent reflective of their owners' lifestyle, smelling things out of the ordinary is cause for concern. 

Some scents to look out for include burning plastic, overheated metal, the scent of gasoline, or even a rotten-egg smell. These could be symptoms of minor repairs needed, or major functional and mechanical issues. Having a complete diagnostic check completed on your vehicle, or an emissions test, could help you identify the issue. If the diagnostic identifies some major problems, or if your vehicle struggles to pass the emissions test, you might consider purchasing a new vehicle. 


Vehicles have all different kinds of fluid necessary to keep them running efficiently. Viscous oils help lubricate gears and engine parts, while fluids like water and anti-freeze keep the machine from overheating. Even windshield washer fluid is an important part of road safety to help ensure the driver can see clearly. Leaks can show an immense array of issues.

Although some leaks might just require a simple tubing replacement, other leaks could be an early warning sign of the decline in the condition of your vehicle. As vehicles experience the wear and tear of daily use and are exposed to road and weather conditions, it is normal to experience a few leaks. Most are easily repaired. 

If your vehicle leaks a lot, leaves oil puddles in each parking space, or if you have to carry a jug of water everywhere you go, it is a good sign to get your vehicle checked out. A little leak is a manageable repair, but consistently seeing puddles of different colors and fluids every time you leave a parking spot signifies something bigger. Or if you move from fixing one leak only to find another, you could have a larger, underlying issue. 


Smoke isn't something you want from a vehicle that shuttles you and your loved ones around. Where there's smoke there's fire, or damage. Typically, cars that release smoke do so in one of four colors. The color of the smoke can help you identify the issue causing the smoke. Changing exhaust colors on your vehicle could indicate a few different things. The main colors to look out four include:

  • Black exhaust smoke: Troubling as it might seem, black smoke often means something like dirty plugs. Quite often a quick trip to the maintenance department can help you resolve the issue. 
  • Thin, white exhaust smoke: This color is normal for vehicles. It is usually water vapor, and is more noticeable on colder days. 
  • Blue or gray exhaust smoke: This color is out of the ordinary for exhaust smoke. This typically indicates an issue with oil. There could be a leakage or oil burning somewhere. Individuals who experience this issue often find problems with cylinder wall, damaged piston rings, or leaking valve seals. 
  • Thick, whitish-gray exhaust smoke. A continual stream of thick, whitish-gray exhaust smoke is abnormal. Sometimes, a leaking head gasket is the core problem. Vehicles with the thick, whitish-gray smoke often experience engine overheating issues. This color of exhaust smoke is often indicative of a larger issue that needs immediate attention and could result in expensive repairs. 

Outdated Features

Some vehicles tell their age by the features they have, or lack. Although an outdated stereo system is no significant issue, other features for vehicle and road safety are crucial to keeping your commute as accident-free as possible. If your vehicle lacks features like side airbag curtains, stability control, or driver-assist technology like blind-spot warnings, it might be time for an upgrade. The safety features on newer vehicles might mean the difference between a safe commute and a fender-bender. 

Lifestyle Changes

Many families experience the need for a new vehicle when they welcome a new baby. Vehicles need room for child-safety seats and the hardware to connect them safely. Similarly, if you have children nearing adult age and are ready to head to college, it might be time for a new, smaller car. You'll reap the benefits of a newer sleeker drive and likely save on gas. 

So there you have it. Tameron Buick GMC has just shared with you our list of the top telling signs that it is time for you to get a new vehicle. If your automobile is sitting in the repair shop more often than cruising the streets, you might invest in a new, or new-to-you vehicle. What do you think of our list? Did we miss your top measure when you know you need a new ride? If we did, let us know!

 Leave us a message sharing your ideas and we'll be happy to check out what you have to say. We might even add your suggestions to our list. 

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