If you notice either of the following two issues, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as you possibly can, as it may be in need of repair.
The exhaust smoke suddenly has a distinctive colour
If your car is functioning properly, the smoke that flows out of the exhaust pipe should not have any distinctive colour.
As such, if it suddenly has a specific hue, you should have the vehicle examined by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
The colour of the smoke can give you insight into what exactly is wrong with your car. Blue smoke, for example, may mean that the engine oil pan's seals have worn out and have allowed this oil to seep out of the engine block.
This is a problem that needs to be addressed quickly, as if you carry on driving your car whilst its oil levels are very low, all of the metal components inside the engine block could end up irreparably abraded and distorted because of the lack of lubrication.
Conversely, if the smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe is black, it might mean that there is too much fuel and not enough air in the combustion chamber. This problem can arise if the air filter is clogged up (in which case it will need to be either washed or replaced), or because the fuel injectors have developed a defect that is allowing excess amounts of fuel to get into the chamber.
Getting this particular problem repaired promptly is important as if you continue using your car whilst it is in this condition, its fuel consumption levels will rise and you will end up spending a small fortune on petrol or diesel.
You have to top up the engine coolant far more often than you used to
If you have noticed that you now need to top up your vehicle's engine coolant levels after every road journey, you should book an appointment with a local mechanic as soon as possible.
The reason for this is as follows; after the engine coolant reservoir has been filled up with this liquid, it should not need to be topped up again for several months (even if the car is driven on a daily basis).
If you have to top it up constantly, this means that the reservoir has sprung a leak. It is vital to have a mechanic repair this leak quickly, as if your engine coolant levels drop too low during a road journey and you can't immediately top them up, your engine could overheat.
If this happens, all of the engine block's components could end up warped and destroyed by the excess heat. This type of damage can be incredibly difficult and expensive to repair.
As such, whilst taking your car to a mechanic to have the coolant reservoir fixed might be inconvenient, doing so could actually help you to avoid very costly car repair bills in the future, by helping to keep your engine in good working order.