Usually, negligence is to blame, followed by lack of money or the belief that you will get ripped off if you take the vehicle in for regular maintenance at a dealership.
We can say that we live in the age where you can be an informed car owner even if you are not a mechanic or an expert in cars, so do not be that scared of regular maintenance or taking an automobile into the shop.
Getting ripped off is becoming rare these days, when everyone who’s angry will give negative feedback somewhere online about a workshop that he or she was not satisfied with them.
Evidently, it takes some time to find a mechanic you can trust, but it is your job as a consumer to know if the place where you want to spend money is worth that expense.
In other words, there is no justification for driving a car that barely runs, and you can be informed about how vehicles work, how much it costs to fix them, and things like that if you spend a few hours online.
We admit that some parts are more expensive to change than others, but we believe that it is best not to drive a vehicle that is not working right than to risk your life, and the safety of others until you get it fixed. It is a simple thing, if you ask us, but many people have died because of negligent cheapskates.
We made a brief list of the things that can ruin your car if they are not looked after, but are rather cheap to fix. Some of those elements can be replaced in a driveway with minimal tools on some cars, and we are not referring to light bulbs or windshield wipers here, even though they fit the bill to perfection.
These are the parts that you can replace on your car in almost any workshop at an affordable price. Failing to replace them in due time will lead to technical problems in the long run, all because you “saved” less than $300 for the priciest items.
Air filter, fuel filter, cabin filter
You will find them in the middle of the price list, and those of you who are familiar with cars and the auto industry can name a few companies by heart.
If you are buying the parts yourself, feel free to Google each of them to see if you can find complaints about them online, and if you can get a better deal from another store.
If your mechanic is doing the purchasing for you, be sure to ask him or her if the part is the most cost-effective quality product that you can get. A cheap air filter can ruin your engine in time, and the same goes for knock-off parts.
Replacing Liquids: Antifreeze, Transmission Fluid, Brake Fluid
Manual gearboxes do not require frequent oil changes, but they should be checked for leaks every time the car is on a lift. The same goes for the fluid level, which should be monitored once a year to be sure there’s still oil in the transmission.
If your vehicle racks up many miles each week, you should do it sooner. It takes a few moments of your mechanic’s time, but it saves thousands in repair bills.
On the average vehicle, brake fluid should be changed every two years. It must be done sooner if you use it for racing or heavy-duty hauling, but you get the idea.
Just like the fluid changes we mentioned above, it can be done in the average workshop for less than $100-150, and you are risking your life on the road if you cannot remember how many years has it been since it was done the last time.
Spark Plugs or Glow Plugs
If ignored for long enough, the motor will run “rough,” and it can break down if they do not get changed in several years and numerous miles.
Glow plugs help diesel engines start, as this kind of motor needs compression and heat to ignite its fuel. Without functional glow plugs, diesel-engined cars would not start at all, while having just a few in running order will lead to problems during the winter or colder periods.
A single defective spark plug or glow plug can lead to misfirings, piston seal damage, and oil contamination. Change them when the guidelines recommend it, or do the replacement after you buy a vehicle that has a dodgy service record.
They are just rubber parts with grooves on them, but are vital to the proper operation of your water pump, alternator, and power steering, among others.
All of the above can fail if a belt like this breaks, and the same applies for its tensioners. Fortunately, these belts tend to make a squeaking noise when they are slipping, which suggests that you should replace them. They should be inspected once a year or so, but avoiding to replace a part like this can lead to a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
The job can be a DIY thing, but we suggest a professional installation to avoid any issues that may arise from the potential improper tensioning of the belt. Other parts may get damaged if you do it wrong, and it is not the most enjoyable thing to do on a vehicle.
Suspension bushings and brake lines
The same goes for brake hoses and brake lines. While the latter are made from metal and usually last more than five years without a hitch, we cannot say the same about rubber brake lines. Just a small leak in one of them will leave you with no brakes because all the fluid directed to that line will reach the pavement.
A rubber brake hose costs about $30 for almost any modern car, and that price will get you a set for some makes and models. A brake fluid flush is in order as well, but that is your mechanic’s job.
Be sure to ask if it was done, and always check your brakes at a low speed, in a secluded area, and before entering traffic after doing a “brake job.”
As always, be sure to keep your ears open for any unusual noises, squeaks, squeals, and strange smells in your car. An attentive driver will pay less for every workshop visit in his or her life, and be sure to write down the circumstances of the fault or irregularity in operation when taking a car in for a repair.
The events we are referring include the speed you were driving at the time, if the engine was warm or cold, and if you were doing something in particular when you heard your car make “a weird noise.”