Cars are good at letting their owners know when something is wrong – from making loud obtrusive noises to simply not handling right,  there are obvious signals that there’s an issue or two going on underneath the hood.

However, there can often be some harbingers of danger that are often different and easily overlooked.

When you’re doing your commute twice a day, picking up your shopping and just getting on with life, it is easy to miss the quieter signs of impending doom – smacking your speed dial to get it started isn’t a way of life.

It is a sign that something’s going wrong. Here are four things your car shouldn’t do, and how to look out for them.

A yo-yoing temperature gauge

car temperature gauge

If your car’s temperature gauge is displaying a constant and slow fluctuation upon warming up, it may indicate that air is going through the engine’s cooling system.

Temperature gauges get their information from the coolant flow via mounted sensors placed near the thermostat housing or in the intake manifold.

There’s rarely an issue with these gauges as they do an excellent job at accurately reporting the coolant temperature. The issue occurs when air gets into the system, as the temperature gauge is unable to read air temperature.

But how does air infiltrate the cooling system? The main cause is the failing intake manifold or cylinder head gasket.

Because neither of these are cheap to repair or replace, you should get them looked at as soon as you notice a problem.

If you ignore a cylinder head or engine problem, you’ll be left with a hole in your wallet because they will both be damaged beyond repair.

Flickering Headlamps

While some flickering headlamps are a sign of ageing or tired eyes (especially at night), if you find that your headlights are flickering when you go over speed bumps or rough surfaces then it may indicate a broken or loose headlamp mount.

To confirm this, all you have to do is try and move the headlamp with your hand.

Should flickering headlights on your car happen on a smooth road then it could be faulty wiring or other server issues. If this begins to happen then it is best to check and resolve the issue as soon as possible, as these problems can easily lead to an overheated circuit or dead battery.

Pulling or Drifting

pulling or drifting

If you suddenly find that your car is pulling or drifting to one side, when it hasn’t happened before,  your first point of call is to check your tire pressure.

An under-inflated front tire is usually the most common cause of a steering pull. However, if it’s a front  tire at fault, then you might start to notice the vehicle wanting to wander, resulting in the need for  steering correction.

If these issues are left for too long, then tires without proper air pressure can cause excessive tread wear and also lead to increased fuel consumption.

To resolve this, always make sure that tires are inflated to the pressure indicated in the vehicles owners manual or on the label affixed to your car’s door frame.

To resolve this, always make sure that tires are inflated to the pressure indicated in the vehicles owners manual or on the label affixed to your car’s door frame.

Rough Running

rough running

When the air drops to colder temperatures it can be harder for your car to get started. This is referred to as rough running your engine, as your engine has to work harder to get the car going.

Back in the day this caused extreme problems, but now, thanks to smart fuel injection systems this doesn’t cause too many issues.

In days of carbureted engines, a little engine stumble or rough running on cold start was normal – not something to be concerned about.

But then fuel injection systems came along and relieved the poorly running engines. However,  they still required a spark from a solid ignition system in order to operate smoothly.

Should your car be giving you a little rough run, you should get it checked out before winter as it could be a spark plug or wire set that will not start on a cold icy morning!

If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms in your car then make sure you service it promptly.

Get free quotes in minutes from garages near you with and get the problem sorted! Find out more about what to do if your car breaks down and how to avoid a breakdown.

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