4 common car issues and how to prevent them

Posted by: Lydia on 20/05/2021

Category: General

4 Common Car Issues and How to Prevent Them

Driving a car can be one of life’s great simple pleasures, and it's important to maintain a vehicle to keep it in good health, even though it may not always feel particularly enjoyable.By adopting the ethos of ‘little and often’ when it comes to car maintenance — and proactively keeping an eye for any early signs of problems — you can maximise the odds of having a very long issue-free period with your vehicle. 

What’s more, a number of common car issues really don’t require a great deal of work to prevent. Instead, it’s just a matter of looking to build up a number of good habits in daily life — let’s look at 4 key ones now. 

1) Not Driving Your Car Often Enough

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, many Aussies are using their cars less than they once did. In some respects, this has had many benefits. As people are working from home, there are fewer drivers doing the rat run through peak hour traffic, and there’s a greater chance for gearheads to utilise their cars for drives they really enjoy on the weekend. 

It’s just important to keep in mind that if you’re using your car less right now — or haven’t been in the habit of using it much generally — that it is indeed important to ensure it is run regularly to keep it in good health.

The precise definition of regular can vary from car to car. There’s some disagreement across different quarters surrounding whether it’s OK to leave a car switched off for two weeks, or just one week. Nonetheless, it’s always prudent to play it safe given that underusing a car will grow the risk of issues like dead batteries and flat-spotting on tyres arising. 

In terms of how long to drive while doing (at least) a once-a-week drive, 20 minutes or more should be sufficient to give your car the juice it needs to keep going along properly. 

2) Using Your Tyre(s) Down Beyond a Safe Level

It’s important to build the habit of checking tyre wear on your set. All things being equal, tyre wear should occur over a long period of time. Furthermore, by rotating tyres regularly, the degradation can be slowed down even further. 

But even so, it’s important to keep an eye on the degradation of your tyres relative to their tear wear indicator. Once the wear level passes the safe depth, it’s essential to swap out the tyre(s) to prevent safety risks and other issues arising as a result.

3) Central Locking Issues Due to a Faulty Lock 

Central locking problems are very common. Although sometimes there can be a more substantial problem that isn’t easily preventable — and of course simple wear and tear can play a role — oftentimes many issues that arise with central locking are actually a result of just one door having a problem. 

A failure with a door can easily arise due to a user accidentally squeezing too hard on the exterior or interior door handle. That’s why it’s always prudent to go as gently as possible when opening and closing doors, as once a lock has broken and the door won’t stay shut, it will render the car unsafe to drive until it’s fixed.

4) Letting Liquids Run Down

Alongside tyres, it’s essential to keep on top of the levels of liquid in your car. Many people let essentials like their coolant and windscreen wiper fluid drop to unsafe levels. This is a common car issue that many people overlook. Especially because the liquids will often need to be changed at different times (some more frequently than others).

Failure to do so can give rise to real problems. For example, if the fluid levels on your windscreen wipers run out, it could leave you unable to quickly clear the windscreen in traffic if mud, dust, or similar suddenly gets onto the windscreen. While it may be unlikely, this scenario is just one example of why having a lack of liquids in your auto can be dangerous — and neutralising these issues is simply a matter of checking liquids and keeping them topped up regularly. 

There’s No Issue with Preventative Practices 

Sometimes it’s an unfortunate reality that — despite all your best efforts to anticipate problems — you can suddenly encounter an uncommon car issue. This is just part of the deal when it comes to cars. Yet although it’s impossible to prevent a breakdown like this, it is possible to take steps to diminish the risk of a breakdown occurring. 

For example, when it’s possible to do so, avoid using your car on days and/or in areas where there is extreme heat as the higher temperatures can place a real strain on the engine. Similarly, accelerate gently and brake in all stops and starts. Building this habit — as opposed to always accelerating fast or braking hard when it's unnecessary to do so — can help prolong the life of your tyres and reduce the risk of damaging engine components that can sustain great pressure with rapid changes of pace. 

Driving Drama-Free

Good car maintenance will keep your car on the road and among the 19.8 million registered across the nation. Running your car at least once a week, and never driving on a tyre that’s worn down beyond a safe level are key aspects of this approach. In addition, always grab door handles gently and keep your liquids topped up. These steps don’t represent quick fixes, instead they are about preventing issues from arising.

Good driving and car ownership isn’t about being perfect. And just as no one is a perfect driver, no vehicle is perfect. Issues will arise now and then with any car. But by being proactive in helping minimise the problems that can arise with small issues, you can also establish a great foundation for driving down the odds of bigger problems coming up for your car in future.