There are experiences that make us joyful, inspired and happy to be alive. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum is the murky, stressful and often costly world of car repairs.
The good news (or more honestly, the “not so bad news”) is that you don’t have to subject yourself — or your beloved vehicle – to whatever fate throws your way. Instead, you can and should be proactive by keeping a close eye on three signs that tell you it’s time to visit your mechanic and get some expert TLC:
- Warning Lights
Some people ignore their car’s warning lights because they believe that either the lights themselves are malfunctioning, or that it’s some devious ploy by car manufacturers to get drivers to scramble back to the dealer and pay hundreds of dollars for a diagnostic.
The truth is that warning lights are precisely that: warnings! Ignoring them is like ignoring a sharp pain in your body. Yes, it’s within the realm of possibility that it might be a temporary or one-time thing. But there’s a much greater chance that it’s symptomatic of something more serious, and getting things checked out is wise.
- Hard Starts
We all need a little jolt in the morning to get into the day. But if you regularly need to turn your car’s engine over and over (…and over…and over) to get it to start, then you can be certain that the problem isn’t going to go away or fix itself in time: on the contrary, it will get worse, and you could end up having to call a tow truck.
With this being said, don’t assume the worst. It could just be that you need a new battery or starter, which are relatively affordable repair jobs compared to some scary, serious stuff — like needing a new transmission.
- Strange Noises
It’s fine for a car to rattle and hum every now and then, perhaps due to a bad tank of gas, a pebble getting caught in the wheel well, and so on. But if you start hearing some seriously strange noises — like squealing when you turn the wheel or accelerate — then head to your mechanic sooner, rather than later. It could be that your belt is loose or worn. While this isn’t a cheap repair job, be thankful that you’re driving a car rather than flying a plane. Replacing aircraft continental belts costs over $500 (and that’s just for the part!).
The Bottom Line
Dealing with car problems isn’t fun. In fact, it doesn’t even crack the Top 1000 Fun Things to Deal With List. However, avoiding or ignoring signs like warning lights, hard starts and strange noises isn’t the way to go. Instead, get your car checked out by a trustworthy mechanic. In the big picture, you’ll be glad that you did — and you’ll spend less, too.