How well do you know your car? Can you tell if something’s wrong just by the feel of it, or the noises it makes? If not, then this article is for you. I’m going to take you through several common problems that, if found early on, are minor and inexpensive. However, let them get worse, and each of them could result in a major issue – for you, your car, and your bank account.
Let’s start with the most important part of all: your brakes. Everybody understands what happens when your brakes fail, and if it ever happens to you, then you should make sure you know what to do. There’s an excellent guide over at SmartDriving.co.uk.
That’s the major part out of the way, then – but what about minor brake issues? Well, the primary thing you need to listen out for is a high pitched squeaking. It’s a sure sign that you break pads are wearing down, and you should get them looked at as soon as possible.
Also, keep an eye on your brake fluid. It’s a vital component of the workings of your brakes, and without it, you are endangering yourself. A regular service – once or twice a year – will help you identify problems before they get serious.
I’ve lost count of the number of friends I have that drive around with balding tyres. Thankfully, nothing serious has happened to them, and, eventually, they replace the offending rubber. It’s a typical attitude, it seems. Far too many people fail take the state of their tyres seriously – whether it’s wearing or driving without the correct inflation.
The trouble is, it’s dangerous. There is the obvious problem of drag, which is a serious issue in itself. But it can also cause plenty of damage to the axles as well. Make sure you keep your tyres at the correct pressure – it should be listed in your owner’s manual.
Also, check your wheels every week or so to inspect the tyre tread. If it’s wearing down, get them replaced as soon as possible – don’t leave it for weeks on end. And don’t give me the excuse of not being able to do it. The AA run a mobile tyre fitting service these days. All you have to do is pick up the phone.
While we are on the subject of wheels, I want to turn your attention to the ball joints. These act as pivots and give your car the ability to turn its front wheels. Again, it’s a common issue – more so than you might think. And, if left, the results can be horrendous.
Your wheel will eventually just fall off, and if you are traveling at any speed, it isn’t going to be pretty for you. You’ll need to use your ears again, here. If you hear a popping or clicking as you turn the wheel, I would suggest stopping the car as soon as possible and contacting your local garage. It might seem like an annoyance, but the truth could be deadly.
Keep your eyes and ears open when you are driving, folks. And act quickly to fix things, and find a good source of spare parts to keep the cost down. It might just save your life one day.