Nobody wants to be hit with an unexpected auto repair bill. Unfortunately, with most cars containing literally thousands of moving parts, it’s only a matter of time before even the most well-made vehicles need repairs. The good news, however, is that you can avoid some of the more costly auto repairs by taking a few simple (and inexpensive) preventative measures.
1. Be on the Lookout for Fluid Leaks
Most modern vehicles alert you via a dashboard light if your car is low on a vital fluid, but it’s still a good idea to remain on the lookout for fluid leaks. If you suspect your vehicle does have a leak, you can figure out which fluid it is by placing a large white piece of cardboard underneath your car. As the fluid leaks, its color shows up on the cardboard, which can help you to identify the fluid type. For example, transmission fluid tends to be red, whereas coolant tends to be green. Having fluid leaks repaired sooner rather than later could mean the difference between a cheap gasket/seal replacement and a much costlier repair.
2. Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly
Review your owner’s manual to determine the specific tire pressure (in PSI) that your vehicle’s tires should maintain. From there, take the time to check your tire pressure at least once a month, adding or letting out air as needed to maintain optimal pressure. Doing so will cut down on premature wear on your tires, which could save you from needing to replace them early.
3. Swap Out Those Worn Brake Pads
Having brake pads replaced isn’t a very expensive repair, but it’s one that could save you hundreds of dollars. That’s because continuing to drive on worn brake pads can cause damage to your car’s rotors, which can cost several hundred dollars to repair or replace. Check your owner’s manual to determine how often your brake pads should be swapped out, and listen for signs of worn brake pads (such as persistent squeaking or squealing while braking).
4. Take Oil Changes Seriously
Whether you change your own oil or take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for this maintenance task, it’s important that you stay on top of regular oil changes if you want to avoid costly engine repairs. Clean oil is essential to keeping all those moving parts within your vehicle’s engine properly lubricated and running smoothly. Most cars these days need oil changes every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, so plan accordingly.
5. Repair Small Windshield Chips Promptly
Finally, to avoid the need for an expensive windshield replacement, always have small windshield and auto glass damage repaired as soon as possible. Oftentimes, small chips and cracks can be quickly and inexpensively repaired using a special bonding resin; if you have comprehensive coverage, this repair will likely be covered by your auto insurance as well. Putting off an auto glass repair, however, can allow chips and cracks to spread to the point of being irreparable.
A little bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way in avoiding costly auto repairs, so be sure to keep these tips in mind. On top of all this, it never hurts to have a reputable mechanic you can call if and when your car needs work!