Car Repairs: A Little Now or A Lot Later

In today’s economy, we are all watching every single dollar down to the pennies in order to stretch it as far as we possibly can. This extends right down to the vehicles we are driving every day. We are letting basic maintenance of these important necessities lapse and trying to get as far as we can without spending any money. Unfortunately, this can really come back and bite us in the long run and can cost a tremendous amount more than we can afford. Sometimes trying to make our dollar stretch isn’t the best answer, it can cost us far more than a simple prevention appointment would have cost, to begin with.
There are five decisions or regular maintenance appointments that can actually help us to keep our money in our pocket instead of giving it to the auto repair centers. If we simply keep up on these appointments our vehicles will run better and for longer, if we let them slide we may end up walking or hitching rides while our vehicle sits in the repair shop.
When the weather turns colder we all want to start the car and let it warm up before we climb in, however, if you go out and the car won’t even crank, you know the battery gave up the ghost. It is best to check the battery every so often and pay attention to how the vehicle is starting, is it cranking for a long time or is it normal? When choosing a battery, don’t just go for the cheapest thing you can find. The cheaper batteries are usually not designed as well and can cause problems with the terminals and cables making a repair that is even more costly than just choosing a better battery would have been. These cheap batteries release gas while they are in use which corrodes the battery cable terminals and will eventually eat away at the actual cables. This makes the alternator work harder and generally causes the entire charging system to be overloaded. It is possible to go from a measly cost of $75 for a decent battery to ten times that to repair the entire mess that a cheap battery can cause.
Another system that requires a little maintenance is the engine cooling system. It is important that we take the time to flush the coolant system it can save our vehicle a lot of headache in a literal sense. Using the wrong coolant or simply neglecting the system can cause the head gasket to fail. The proper coolant keeps the dissimilar metals in the cooling system from being eroded by electrolysis. Using the wrong coolant can cause the necessary pH balance to be off and bring about the failure of the head gasket. This simple flushing costs a little over $100 while the head gasket failure can cause a $1000.00 a headache.
There is one more flush that should be done on any vehicle, the transmission fluid. This particular flush is maybe one of the last ones that people would think of. Transmission fluid is the lifeblood of the transmission; it cleans cools and lubricates the moving parts of the transmission. Time breaks the fluid down and makes it less effective. Being informed on what a transmission flush entails and what is recommended could save your transmission completely. Also knowing the proper fluid to put in your vehicle is very important. Not all transmission fluids are created equal. Know what your vehicle needs and get it taken care of on a maintenance level instead of a repair level, this can save you over $1500.00.
Another quick and easy maintenance item involves your tires. We have all heard that so much is riding on our tires, it is so true because the condition of the tires effects how the brakes work, the traction on the road safely to the destination. The safety of the vehicle also somewhat rests on the tires. Tires that are almost worn out can blow out at any time and cause an accident. Simply making sure the tires are rotated and have the proper air pressure can actually increase the life of the tires. The last place we want to be changing a tire is alongside the road in a storm.
A vehicle without an engine is just a metal shell that is worth very little. An engine without oil will bring about the metal shell of a vehicle in very little time. Oil is the blood of the engine and without it, an engine will seize up. A blown engine isn’t repairable without a complete overhaul; it can require an entirely new engine. That is a pretty expensive repair when you compare it to a simple oil change at $29.99 every 3000 miles. That is pretty cheap insurance in the long run. While it is most likely not engine threatening to let the oil change slide by 1000 miles, it isn’t smart to let it go further than that. Most people would rather pay $30 than $3000.00. It just makes good sense to keep the oil in good condition thus keeping the engine in good condition.
Preventative maintenance no matter how we look at it is good insurance. It is cheaper to keep up with the maintenance of our vehicles than to be forced to deal with the expense of a major repair. We all know that we can’t go very far without our vehicles; we use them to get everywhere and anywhere. The newer vehicles are not as easy to maintain at home as they used to be. That is why the large auto repair centers are available to change the oil, check the tires and take care of everything under the hood. These professionals know just what it takes and they have all the tools to maintain any vehicle and keep it running good so we can stay on the go. Spending a little money on our vehicle at important times in its life can keep it from spending days and weeks in a repair center. Spend a little to save a lot because a lot is riding on the dependability of our vehicles.