If you’re a car owner, you likely know that car repairs can be an expensive proposition. Even routine maintenance work can add up fast. But with some planning and forward-thinking, you can reduce the cost of owning and operating your car. That said, your vehicle will inevitably experience issues at some point. After all, cars are complex machines that require routine upkeep to operate efficiently and safely. Fortunately, most mechanical problems are predictable and can be proactively avoided or fixed before they become more serious. At a minimum, you should be aware of the most common issues that may affect your car and take action if you notice any of these warning signs:
Check engine light
A car’s engine light is an indicator that something is wrong with your vehicle’s engine. Your engine could be misfiring, have too little or too much air flowing through it, have an incorrect fuel mixture, or have insufficient oil pressure. The problem might be severe and costly to repair, or it might be something simple and inexpensive. Engine lights can be tricky because they vary by make and model and require special diagnostic equipment to read. That makes it challenging to determine what is causing the light to come on.
If you’re unsure of what’s triggering the engine light, you should have your car looked at by a mechanic as soon as possible. Your car’s engine is a complicated system; even a minor issue can quickly become a significant problem.
Chipped or cracked windshield
A cracked or chipped windshield may not seem like much of a problem, but it can become a big problem if it’s not taken care of quickly. Even a tiny crack can quickly spread and become a dangerous situation for you and your passengers. If your windshield cracks or chips, the damage should be fixed as soon as possible. If you don’t have it repaired, the crack will likely get bigger and could spread to the point where having the windshield replaced by an Auto Glass Shop becomes necessary. It’s important to note that cracks can occur due to various factors, including car accidents. If you have an accident and notice cracks in your windshield, your insurance company should cover the cost of having the windshield replaced.
Damaged license plate
If you notice that your license plate is bent, dented, or rusted, you should get it replaced as soon as possible. If you get pulled over by the police, having a damaged plate is a ticket waiting to happen. Depending on your state, you can be ticketed for having a damaged plate. You may also get a ticket if a cop notices your plate is bent, but you can often get away with it if it’s not too bent and/or rusty. However, if you live in a state that doesn’t require license plates on the back of the car, you should replace the plate as soon as possible just in case you ever get pulled over and have to prove you have a license. Since it’s a relatively minor offense, you don’t want to be ticketed for not having a plate.
Missing or broken external lights
If you notice any of your car’s external lights are broken, you should fix them as soon as possible. The lights that should be checked and fixed are the headlights, taillights, turn signals, and emergency flashers. Headlights are the most important because you need them to see when driving at night. If one or more of your headlights are broken, replace them as soon as possible. If you neglect to replace a broken light, you could get a ticket for having an improperly-working car. If you get a ticket for a broken light, you’ll have to pay a fine and could have your vehicle impounded.
Oil warning light
Your car’s oil level should be checked periodically, making sure it falls within the acceptable range. If you notice the oil warning light is on, you should immediately get your oil level checked. If it’s too low, it could indicate a severe problem such as a hole in your engine, and your car’s engine could be severely damaged if you don’t take immediate action. You should have the problem fixed as soon as possible and make sure you have a valid oil change appointment in the near future.
If you notice your car pulling to one side or having trouble stopping, it could be that your wheels are misaligned. Having your wheels aligned can help extend the life of your tires, increase fuel efficiency, and make it easier to stop. And even if you don’t see any issues, having your wheels aligned every few years is a good idea.
If you notice that your car is leaking something, it could be a serious problem. But it’s best to assume it’s a serious problem and get it fixed as soon as possible. Common leaks include engine oil leaks, transmission fluid leaks, and radiator leaks. Engine oil and transmission fluid leaks are signs of significant internal damage and should be fixed as soon as possible. Radiator leaks are generally easier to fix and don’t necessarily indicate a serious problem, but you should still get them corrected as quickly as possible. A leak can cause significant damage to your car if it goes unchecked and can also be dangerous.
If your car’s brakes make a squealing or grinding noise when you press down on them, you should get them looked at as soon as possible. You don’t want to drive with noisy brakes because you don’t know how long they’ll last.
Owning a car can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it can also be expensive and stressful. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the cost of owning and operating your car. One way is to be aware of common car repairs and address them as soon as possible. Knowing what to look for can help prevent minor problems from becoming big ones.