7 Auto Repairs You Should Never Put Off
Posted by: Lydia on 31/10/2017
We’re living in a new Golden Age as car enthusiasts. Sure, it may not seem like it when you’re sitting in peak hour traffic, but cars today are better designed and more user-friendly than ever before.
Because our cars are so seamless and intuitive, it’s often easy for drivers to think they are bulletproof, and that major problems won’t occur because modern cars are so well-engineered.
This is a nice idea in theory, but in practice, car repairs are just a fact of car ownership. Ignoring the need for repairs is never wise. Obviously, minor things like scratches or dents won’t impact driving. Some repairs, however, mustn't be ignored, as they can pose a real danger on the road. Here’s a look at 7 repairs that you should never put off.
Everybody knows a horror story about an engine smoking out in traffic. Such stories are no fun, but most engines today are actually very durable. Since the average age of an Australian vehicle is 10.1 years, the good news is that this often means a check engine light is due to a small issue like a loose fuel cap - an easy and inexpensive fix.
The bad news is, if it’s not a minor issue like that, it’s usually a serious one. That’s why anytime you do see the check engine light come on, it’s important to actually go and get it checked out. If your car isn’t smoking or creaking, usually it's a good sign that any repairs required will be minor. Just the same, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
This is usually one repair many motorists think they can put off - until it's too late. Because of the modern car’s safety standards and protections like the anti-lock braking system (ABS), the chance of outright brake failure is low. Yet, no problem in this area should ever be ignored. If your brakes are suddenly sluggish for no reason, it’s vital to get the issue checked out right now.
Compared to the other repairs on this list, this one may seem like a very minor issue - even more so if your horn still works but has just lost power lately. But horns are loud for a reason, and a quiet one will be a huge problem if you need to use it in an emergency.
The good news is, horns are usually an easy and affordable fix, so look for a repair job ASAP.
4. Power Failure
Like your horn, sluggish power in your car may not always seem like a big deal. Every car can be a bit slow to start on a cold morning, and every car also has its quirks. A bit of a slow start is one thing, but anytime there is an actual loss of power, it becomes serious.
Losing power sitting in your garage is annoying, but losing it when driving is always dangerous, so get it checked out immediately if there are signs something is wrong.
5. AC System
Every Australian recognises the desire for more powerful air conditioning. A hot day, a long drive, and suddenly it seems like driving in Antarctica would be more comfortable. As soon as you notice your AC working less efficiently, or if it stops working outright, get a proper inspection as soon as possible.
Transmission repairs are hard to identify, but they can be a huge problem if not attended to. This is true whether you drive a manual or an automatic. The transmission light on your dashboard is usually the first warning something could be wrong. Beyond this, any delayed engagement, slipping in and out of gears, or difficulty changing gears is a clear indicator of a need for repairs.
7. Broken Lights
Unlike an engine issue or power problem, a broken light is unlikely to mean a substantial problem exists. Usually it just means a bulb has come to the end of its life, and a simple swap is in order. If you find multiple lights have stopped working for no reason, though, that is a sign it's now a bigger issue. Get it checked out to keep yourself safe driving day and night.
Knowledge is power
Unless you're a qualified mechanic, there will always be a time when repairs require a professional.
It’s also a reality that the speed and pace of technological innovation - especially when it comes to digital and electronic car parts - is making it hard for even mechanics to keep up.
Nonetheless, even if you’d struggle to take apart and reassemble your car engine like a pro, car knowledge is always a valuable thing to have. Not only does it help you enjoy your driving more each day, but it can also enable you to spot problems more quickly. Your car knowledge could be the difference between a repair being fixed at a minor cost, and turning your car into a write-off.
Repair and Repeat
No car owner likes dealing with car repairs, especially ones that are serious. For as long as we drive cars, though, repairs will be a reality of life. That’s why the best approach will always be to minimise, rather than ignore, the need to do them as they arise. It’s also important to have a regular inspection plan once your car's fixed, as even repaired problems can return later on.
Taking the time to build a good working relationship with your local mechanic is a big part of this.
Always ensure they explain how the repairs were done, and any potential issues to keep an eye out for in the future. Not only does that guarantee you’ll have peace of mind going forward, but it also ensures any problem that arises will be quickly identified before it becomes a big issue.
What other auto repairs do you know of that should never be put off? Let us know in the comments below: