A lot of consumers these days invest in vehicles for a more convenient way of traveling. And as vehicles evolve into better and more sophisticated transportation facilities, almost 50% of the vehicle owners reveal that they 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, and nearly half of consumers say they spend $500 or more on auto repairs a year (with 1 in 6 spending $1,000 plus),” Hafer said. “So avoiding costly repair mistakes is key, whether vehicles have the newest technology or are well past middle age...”
Unless you have a lot of money to spare, you should avoid these five costly auto services and repair mistakes that put a hole in your wallet. They usually cost over $1,000 if they are not immediately fixed. These are also special tips that owners of 100K-plus vehicles should be aware of to prevent themselves from overspending on auto repairs.
1. Ignoring the vehicle’s fluid levels
If you fail to give an 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, on a regular basis.
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. Disregarding the presence of noises
When your car makes a lot of unusual noises, that’s already a sign of a poor vehicular performance, which needs immediate attention. But if you refuse to take notice of those noises and continue to drive your car, thinking that they might just disappear, then you are clearly putting yourself in danger.
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. Take it directly to an auto repair shop and have the noises fixed by a car mechanic before you put yourself in harm’s way.
3. Neglecting the 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 a high mileage, be sure to have the belts and hose inspected more often than they should.
4. Giving less attention to the vehicle’s tires
When you drive on underinflated tires, you shorten the life of the tires, increase the incidence of a 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 the 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. Failing to check the 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.