I have spent money on routine repairs keeping up my 2006 Toyota Tundra. It’s been a good investment, yet I have made several mistakes on preventable repairs, including neglecting to fill my tires with air. Everyone usually makes some mistakes with their cars to costs extra.
You can avoid car repairs by finding out more about your car and how often it needs to be serviced for different parts. Once you learn when you can also learn how to inspect your car and even make some of the repairs yourself.
Almost 50% of the vehicle owners have spent, at least, $500 a year on auto services. This is according to Brian Hafer, Marketing Vice President for AutoMD.com. “The age of vehicles on the roads today is at a record high, more and more consumers are driving electric/hybrid vehicle models, Here are some ways to avoid expensive repairs in the future.
1. Chech Your Vehicle’s Fluid Levels
If you fail to give adequate attention to your vehicle’s fluid levels, then it could result in major engine complications, which can cost you more than a thousand dollars in repairing the damage. The same thing happens when your car doesn’t undergo basic preventive maintenance, such as regular checkups and change oil, regularly.
Vehicle owners should also regularly check the levels of brake fluid, engine coolant, power fluid, transmission fluid, as well as, windshield washer fluid.
This should be done on both gas and diesel-powered engines, electric and hybrid vehicle models, and on vehicles that have a mileage over 100K miles/10 plus years. If you a hybrid vehicle, then make sure to check its Power Control Unit coolant and fill it with the right amount of long-life coolant if it’s at a low level.
2. Check Unusual Vehicle Noises
It may not seem like anything, but when your car makes unusual noises, that’s a sign there may be something wrong. It could be poor vehicular performance, which needs immediate attention.
If you decide to ignore the noise it might be nothing or it might be an expensive fix the longer you avoid checking it out.
Some people ignore their vehicles because they can’t find a good mechanic. I suggest taking it to a dealership mechanic if possible. It may cost a little more but they have a reputation to uphold so they usually do OK in my experience.
If not you can always search Yelp or other online reviews.
Car noises like clicking, grinding, knocking, or squealing are symptoms of vehicular problems that, if left unattended, could cause worse issues and more expensive – at least a thousand dollars – costs for the necessary repairs.
The noises may also be a safety issue, which should never be disregarded. You may get an accident because you didn’t do anything with the noises. Remember, there is no monetary value for one’s life, so make sure that your vehicle keeps you safe while driving on the road.
The bottom line is: whatever the make and model of your car are, if you hear odd noises, then don’t ever ignore them.
If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, I suggest trying the YouTube channel ChrisFix. Otherwise, take it directly to an auto repair shop and have the noises analyze by a car mechanic.
Remember you don’t have to let them repair your car, especially if you feel uncomfortable. Just say, I’m going to think about it, and you can decide later.
3. Check Your Vehicle’s Belts And Hoses
Another expensive auto service that you should avoid is failing to check the belts and hoses of your car. If you are not into the technical details, then drive belts and hoses make the vehicle’s engine run efficiently when in use.
Apparently, car experts suggest that these engine parts should be thoroughly checked every 30,000 miles or every after two years. If you neglect to do the needed inspection, then they will greatly affect the engine performance, and you may lose a lot of money for the repairs.
Drive belts, when overused, can slip and break eventually, while old hoses will result in fluid and vacuum leaks. If for instance, a drive belt or a coolant hose becomes futile, then your vehicle will not work properly and may severely damage the car engine.
A very good example is the timing belt, which needs to be replaced at the interval suggested by your manufacturer. For vehicles with high mileage, be sure to have the belts and hose inspected more often than they should.
4. Check Your Vehicle’s Tires
When you drive on underinflated tires, you shorten the life of the tires, increase the incidence of tire wear, and have damaged tires caused by various road hazards like heat and potholes.
If the tires suddenly break while you are driving, then you can no longer the vehicle properly, or worse, you end up hurting yourself. Meanwhile, driving on bald tires is more dangerous since it decreases vehicle traction, leading to a road accident.
To avoid putting yourself in danger, always find time to have your car’s tires checked regularly. If possible, have a tire rotation to ensure the tire’s proper alignment and the issues are immediately addressed. It is advisable to have them rotated every 7,000 to 10,000 miles. Don’t worry, a tire rotation service is fairly affordable.
Furthermore, it is ideal for car owners to set the tire’s pressure according to the specifications of the manual. If your vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system or TPMS, then program the system after you have set the pressure.
For those who have hybrid vehicles, you can improve the gas mileage at a maximum of 3.3% if you consistently inflate your tires to their proper pressure.
5. Check Your Dashboard Warning Lights
The last on this list is failing to inspect the warning lights. If they are not thoroughly checked or fixed right away, then it’s going to cost you a big amount of money for the repairs and maintenance.
It would be helpful to read the manual and be aware of the different warning lights on the dashboard of your vehicle. Watch out for the Brake Light, Check Engine Light, Oil Light, and Temperature Light, and know what you can do to keep them functioning well.
For electric and hybrid vehicle owners, you don’t have to worry about the warning lights. They come with a system that informs you whenever the warning lights have issues. However, don’t be too complacent. You still need to take your car to a maintenance center to ensure that there is nothing wrong with the dashboard warning lights.
6. Replace Your Spark Plugs
There is a good reason to replace your spark plugs. Your engine can only run as well as the sum of its parts. Bad sparkplugs can cause your engine to perform badly.
In some instances, bad sparkplugs can cause major problems if you ignore the signs and don’t replace them. Make sure to follow your maintenance schedule when it says to replace them, even if your car seems fine.
7. Check Your Air Filter
A clogged air filter means your engine isn’t getting enough air and it will start performing badly. If you ignore the problem particles could get through the air filter and start to get into your engine causing all sorts of problems.
The air filter on most cars is very easy to replace. Take it out when you get to the auto store and show them if you are not sure about the model of your car. They will get you the right kind to replace it and it will only take a minute.
The other option is to go online to Amazon or another parts store. Once in a while, I get my air filter changed with my oil but I know that I’m spending a lot more than I need to because changing it myself is so easy, just a bit inconvenient at times.
8. Check Your Battery
Another fairly easy task is to take a good look at your battery. Look at the terminal on the battery to see if there is any corrosion. Check that the cables are tight and the battery is in good condition and secure.
Lots of problems can occur with the battery over time. Checking it thoroughly once every couple of months is easy and will save you the cost of a new one.
9. Park Car Carefully
I tend to park my truck without paying as much attention to the curb as I should. This has cost me a bit of money when I found out there was a crack in the frame assembly of my car. In addition one of my shocks was leaking oil.
Now I am extra careful when parking even if it takes me longer, it worth it to be patient.
10. Keep A Regular Maintence Schedule
One of the reasons cars and trucks last so long is because their owners are religious about maintenance. They always take the car in when the maintenance schedule tells them to. They do everything like clockwork and their car runs well and lasts longer.
If you’re on a budget and are skipping maintenance, try remembering that it will cost you more the longer you fail to maintain your car.
Try using DIY methods for things you’re good at and if you’re not experienced don’t try it because that usually ends up costing more as well.
Ask friends for help and ask to borrow tools if needed. Get all the information you need first and see if it makes sense to try it yourself. Then you might end up saving a lot for certain repairs.
“Nearly half of consumers saying they spend $500 or more on auto repairs a year (with 1 in 6 spending $1,000 plus),” Hafer said(AutoMD.com). You can be above the curve as you check your car for problems and maintain it regularly.
If you make it a part of your weekly routine and check one thing each time, you’ll be sure to have a great running car that will last for a long time and you will likely have very few unexpected additional costs.
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