Owning a car means spending money to ensure that it works properly, otherwise known as basic maintenance. Cars regularly need oil changes as well as a handful of other routine repairs to keep them running in pristine condition.
If you truly want to get the most out of your vehicle, you’ll want to make sure that you keep it running smooth.
One of the best ways to keep your car working properly is to keep a lookout for the following signs and symptoms that your car needs basic maintenance:
1. Squeaky Brakes
If you hear a loud screeching noise every time you hit your brakes, it’s a sign that you need new brake pads. Typically, replacing your brake pads is an easy and inexpensive fix, as long as you haven’t allowed your brake pads to wear down completely so that they ruin the rest of your brakes, including ruining the rotors. Bad rotors are a very expensive problem to address!
2. Pulling to Right or Left
When you’re in a secure area, let go of the wheel and see what happens. Your car should continue driving in a straight line. If you car pulls to the right or the left when your hand is not on the wheel, then it’s a sign that your tires need to be aligned. A typical basic maintenance alignment is not a very expensive problem to fix, but doing so can ensure that your car is keeping you safe.
3. Squeaky Wheel
If your steering wheel squeaks when you turn it, or if it’s becoming harder to turn, it’s a sign that you’re running low on power steering fluid. Power steering fluid is what enables your steering wheel to turn easily, making driving much simpler for you. If you are low on fluid, it can become extremely difficult to turn your wheel, which can be very dangerous. Adding steering fluid to your car is a very cheap fix, so make sure to get it done.
4. Funky Odors
If you smell strange odors when your car is on, you want to make sure that you bring it in to get checked. Strange odors, such as an egg smell, can be a sign that there is something wrong with your engine, and this can end up costing you a ton of money if you don’t have it looked into right away.
If you notice that your engine or your transmission is jerking, you need to have your car looked at immediately. This can be a sign that you’re running low on transmission fluid or oil, and if your engine runs dry, you could end up dropping your transmission, which will cost you no less than $5,000 to fix.
6. Low Gas Mileage
If you notice a significant drop in your gas mileage, it could be a sign that your car is in major need of a tune up. Make sure to have it checked by your mechanic as soon as possible to avoid any major and expensive issues that could occur if you ignore it.
When you consider the costs of basic maintenance, just think about how much money you’re saving on the major repairs that ignoring minor issues can cause! In the short and long term it’s more than worth it.
This article was a guest post by Garrett Payne, who is a father of three and works in Nissan sales for a living. He enjoys writing about anything related to car maintenance and driving safety in his spare time.