An Ounce of Prevention

Maria Contreras Maria Contreras is the Marketing Manager at Consumers Credit Union.
  • Posted on 2/25/2015
If you’re like most people, you probably take your car for granted. We know you love your car, but it’s easy to overlook its aches and pains until it’s too late. That’s why we’re listing the five most common things that can go wrong with your car.
If you’re like most people, you probably take your car for granted. We know you love your car, but it’s easy to overlook its aches and pains until it’s too late. That’s why we’re listing the five most common things that can go wrong with your car. We also have some tips to help you take better care of your vehicle before it needs fixing.

Battery

A dead or dying battery could have many causes. Obviously, if your battery is old you increase your chances of it dying. The average life of a car battery is about four years.

Extreme temperatures, hot and cold, could shorten a battery’s lifespan. Also, if you tend to drive short journeys each day, you could lose voltage. Be sure to take a longer trip now and then. A bad alternator, corroded terminals or lose connections could also cause problems.

Tires

Although many tire issues can be easily prevented, tires account for 10% of all emergency roadside calls. Be sure to check your tires’ tread and pressure frequently. A penny can help you determine if your tread is worn down. Put a penny headfirst into several tread grooves across each tire. If you see the top of Mr. Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.

As for tire pressure, check your owner’s manual or the sticker on the driver’s side door for the correct PSI (pounds per square inch) for your tires. Get a tire gauge and monitor your pressure often. It can save your tires and help you save at the gas pump.

Check Engine Light

It can be easy to ignore all of those lights on your dashboard, but don’t. Especially the check engine light. This one little light is there to alert you to one of hundreds of potential problems. It could just mean it’s time for your checkup or you’ve got a loose gas cap. It could also be something more serious that needs immediate attention.

Get in the habit of taking your car to your mechanic as soon as you can when the check engine light goes on. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Overheating

An overheated car isn’t limited to the warmer months and could be a sign that something major is wrong with your car. The main causes of an overheated engine are a stuck thermostat, a leak in your cooling system, a faulty water pump, a bad cooling fan or a clogged radiator.

As with most car problems, an overheated engine shouldn’t be overlooked. If you ignore the problem for too long, it could lead to bigger problems. So get it checked out sooner rather than later.

Accidents

It’s also one of the easiest problems to avoid. There are measures you can take to avoid getting into a fender bender or worse. Stay out of the fast lane, avoid tailgating, keep your eyes on the road, not your phone, be vigilant of blind spots, and do what your driving instructor said by keeping your hands at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions on the wheel.

Take Benjamin Franklin’s advice, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The best way to avoid any of the previous mentioned car troubles from happening is to treat your car with care. It’s more efficient to prevent the problem in the beginning, than let it go and have to invest a large amount of effort and money to fix the results later. Have your car checked out regularly. Don’t ignore warning lights and get any issue, no matter how seemingly small, looked at as soon as you can.