Some things can wait, but here are the top ten things you need to check immediately.
Some auto repairs that can be avoided by simple maintenance included engine repair , transmission replacement, tire replacement, and a host of others. Are there more? Of course. The point is to just be aware of your car's condition, and fix what needs fixing sooner rather than later. Better for you and better for everybody else on the road.
1) A Puddle Under your Car.
That puddle under your car could be from the last rainstorm, or a storm brewing under your hood. If the puddle is clear it is probably just your car's air conditioner draining humidity from the car but green, black or golden oily fluid can be from radiator, engine, transmission or brakes. Get them checked ASAP.
2) Red Dashboard Lights.
Red lights really do mean STOP. Some people ignore the red lights on their dashboard-don't be one of them. If the low oil light and temperature light come on, stop as soon as possible to avoid engine damage and call for assistance. The engine warning light is your sign it's time for a visit to the dealer. It could just be a maintenance reminder but play it safe.
3) Brakes pull to one side? Stepping on the brake pedal should slow your car in a straight line, with no squealing or grinding noises. Does the pedal feel when you step on the brakes? Get brakes checked immediately if any of those conditions exist. Most brake shops will do this free.
4) If you hear something-do something.
Even an older car or van should be free of loud or unusual noises. Noises that are not normal are tapping noises, squealing noises, clunks when you hit a bump or whining sounds that could mean transmission problems. Visit a service center and ask the mechanic to take a test drive. Many repair shops will do this free of charge.
5) Car pulls to one side?
If your car is always pulling to the side of the road it probably means poor wheel alignment or even worse, worn out steering components. Either is dangerous and needs fixing. This condition can also wear out your tires prematurely.
6) Are the hills are getting steeper?
No, the hills are the same, it is your car that is getting slower. Some things to check are the air filter, low tire pressures, poor quality gas or the need for a tune up. Another indication is hard starting and you are using a lot more gas. The cure? A simple servicing. There is at least one instance of mice nesting in an air filter. In that case the car got to the point that it would not start at all.
7) Ever wonder what those pieces of cars are along the road?
Try to make sure they are not parts of your car. We have all seen cars with the aftermath of a minor parking lot scuffle. Bumpers are loose, molding swinging in the breeze. These are dangerous to you and other motorists. Be safe . Get them fixed, and you could also be avoiding a ticket.
8) But it's only flat on the bottom.
An old cliché , but the point is that a simple walk around look at your tires can be a lifesaver. Literally. We have already discussed checking pressure and getting car service, but sometimes just a look can alert you to a dangerously low pressure tire. If airline pilots can do a walk around their plane, you can walk around your car before going to work.
9) Car lights have come a long way.
In the good old days drivers had to light a kerosene lamp to see their way. Today all you need to do is turn on the light switch- unless you have a burned out bulb. Check your lights once a week. Directional and brake lights are most important, and you can check brake lights by backing close to a wall and looking for the reflection when you step on the brake. Directional and headlights operate with just the key on, so you can turn them on without the engine running. Just have the ignition key in the "ON" position.
And-leave a window down so you don't lock yourself out while you are walking around the car. Yes that has been done too.
10) What is that awful smell? Any strong odors should be checked immediately. If you are driving and smell gasoline, a burning smell or a any chemical type odor, pull over to a safe spot immediately, walk away from the car and call for help. Car fires are incredibly fast moving and dangerous.
Last but not least!
It's the little things. The following is a list of little things that can turn into big problems.
No spare tire-when is the last time you looked at your spare?; or the jack? You may have roadside assistance, but they probably expect you to have a usable spare.
Where is that golf bag??? Jenny's tennis racket?? Yes it is true. many of us use our vehicle as an extended storage space. Dangerous, loose articles in the passenger compartment can do serious damage in case of an accident. Your windows are perfectly clean and wipers work like new-right? You don't think about those until you are stuck in a downpour. Did we mention that a golden Retriever on your lap is an accident waiting to happen? Sorry but that is also a ticket in some states.
The list of safety tips and auto repairs that can be avoided by simple maintenance is long, including engine and transmission replacement, tire replacement and a host of others. Are there more? Of course. The point is to just be aware of your car's condition, and fix what needs fixing sooner rather than later. Better for you and better for everybody else on the road.