We get it – owning a car is not cheap but vital in your day-to-day life.
When you’re living on a tight budget and driving a vehicle, it can be easy to dismiss seemingly minor issues in an effort to save money.
The truth is, these “minor” issues can easily become major issues that will cost you more money in the long run.
They say an inch of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to owning and operating a car. For that reason, it’s important to know which car repairs should not be ignored, even if you are on a budget.
Let’s take a look at some of these issues as well as routine maintenance you should have performed on your car to prevent serious and expensive problems in the future:
Car Repairs You Can’t Ignore – Even If You’re On a Budget
1. Check Engine Light
Seeing your check engine light burst to life typically causes you to assume one of two things: It’s nothing major and can be ignored or it is something major and is going to drain your bank account.
The truth is, it could be both but the risk of finding out which it is is too high. The check engine light is an indication that something is wrong and that something could be a minor issue that, if left unchecked, could turn into a bigger one.
Ultimately, it could be that your gas cap isn’t on tight enough – so it’s always worth it to start there before taking your car to a mechanic. Otherwise, it can be a huge blow to your budget if you put it off.
2. Chipped Windshield
Did you know that your windshield provides 30% of your vehicle’s structural strength? This means that fixing windshield chips is not just a matter of aesthetics – it’s a matter of safety, too.
If you have a chipped windshield, you risk your safety if your vehicle becomes involved in a crash or rollover situation. Because the integrity of the windshield is compromised, your vehicle (as well as yourself) will sustain more damage than if the windshield was 100% intact.
3. Slow Start
Unfortunately, ignoring vehicle problems will not make them go away, including a slow start. You’ll notice that your car is experiencing slow start issues when you start your car and the engine struggles to turn over for a minute.
Even though your vehicle may eventually come to life, this can be the sign of a dead battery or problems with the starter or alternator.
The problem will only continue until you go to turn your key one day and it absolutely will not start. That’s why it’s worth the trip to a mechanic if your car is experiencing a slow start.
Random puddles under your car are an indication that your vehicle is experiencing some sort of leak. While it may be tempting to brush these issues aside for the sake of your budget, ignoring them will only lead to a huge repair bill down the road.
Every fluid in your car is crucial to its operation and leaks can affect the safety and performance of your vehicle.
It’s helpful to know how to identify leaks but, ultimately, it’s best to have a mechanic take a look to properly diagnose the problem.
Routine Maintenance to Prevent Expensive Issues
Your vehicle is a well-oiled machine which means it needs to be well-oiled. There is a lot of friction that goes on when you’re driving your car and without lubrication, the operating components of your car could seize up and experience serious damage.
Routine oil changes are important to ensure your vehicle is lubricated but also to make sure that the oil is in the right condition to do the job. Dirty oil is thick and erosive and can do more harm to your car than good.
It is recommended that you top your engine with fresh oil and change out the filter every 6,000 km (or as per the manufacturer’s recommendation).
Tire Rotation and Alignment
Tire rotation involves moving your tires from one position to another to make sure they wear down evenly. This should be done every 5,000-7,500 km or as often as your change from winter tires to all-season tires.
Wheel alignments don’t have to be done as often but having it done regularly will improve the performance and longevity of your tires so you’re replacing them less often.
Proper brake performance is crucial to the safety of your car. Brakes are made up of many different parts but the brake pads do a lot of the work. When you push down on your car’s brakes, the brake pads create friction and slow the rotation of your wheels.
Each time you apply the brakes, the pads wear down and eventually have to be replaced. How often you have these replaced depends on how you drive your vehicle but you should at least have them inspected once a year.
Engine, Fuel, and Cabin Filters
There are three filters inside your car that ensure proper performance as well as a healthier environment inside your vehicle.
The engine air filter catches dust and dirt, making it easier for your engine to operate. The cabin filter does almost the same thing but prevents that dust and dirt from entering the interior of your car.
Lastly, the fuel filter is all about efficiency and prevents the fuel lines from becoming clogged. A clogged filter can negatively impact your vehicle’s fuel economy.
Car Repairs and Budgets
It may seem difficult to pay for a repair today – but you don’t want to be faced with thousands of dollars worth of repairs in the future.