It’s common to take your vehicle for a minor repair only to realize there’s a long list of needed repairs. However, repairing everything all at once may take a huge bite in your budget. The trick is to determine the essential auto services to prioritize.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 2% of vehicle crashes are caused by component failure. In this article, you’ll learn about the priority services to help you stay safe on the road. Keep reading; your road safety depends on it.
Take a Defensive Driver Course to Improve Your Driving
Before jumping into the auto services to prioritize, take a defense driver course to improve your driving. After all, safety on the road begins with you. It would be best to go beyond basic traffic procedures and laws and learn how to predict potential hazards.
The good news is that you don’t have to attend a physical class. You can take a defensive driving course online, which is quicker and more effective. Primarily, these courses help you overcome negative psychological factors that can quickly lead to a vehicle accident, such as road rage, fatigue, and emotional distress.
Defensive driving courses vary. For instance, according to the official site of the Town of Brookhaven, New York, an online course will cost you about $25. Veterans and senior citizens pay $25 for in-person classes, while non-residents will pay $40. Besides heightening your driver safety on the road, a defensive course will also get you a 10% auto insurance discount over three years in New York. Such arrangements vary depending on your locality, so research defensive driving benefits in your residency.
Driving safety extends beyond the road to your home. Did you know that, according to Forbes, nearly 2500 people are crushed by a garage door in a year? For this reason, get a professional to resolve unusual sounds or garage door behaviors immediately.
Care For Your Large Vehicles (Like RVs)
There’s no way around it. If you own a large vehicle, such as a recreational vehicle (RV), and want to ensure it’ll serve you for a long time, there are a few auto services to prioritize. According to Business Insider, auto maintenance costs between $500 and $1,000 yearly.
Do your slide-outs squeak and squeal? If yes, you may have skipped some essential large vehicle maintenance tasks. As a result, debris and grime build up in your slide-out rails, causing rust corrosion and inhibiting proper sealing. To avoid wearing out, lubricate and clean the slide-out rails twice yearly or when they fail to work correctly or make strange noises.
Roofs, windows, and door seals degrade naturally over time. As a result, moisture can quickly seep into your vehicle, causing faster wear and tear. Therefore, you must lubricate rubber seals to ensure they’re pliable and fresh. Also, inspect the seals for water stains, cracks, and deterioration. When the seals are damaged beyond repair, replace them immediately.
Most RVs have awnings that add shade to your pop-up camper or motor home. You must clean and dry these additions thoroughly before storage. If you can’t complete a thorough cleaning, brush off the awning after use to ensure it’s free from debris and sticks.
Driving your RV for a long distance may also contribute to significant wear and tear damage. As a result, if you must travel, consider going for professional RV transport services to protect your considerable vehicle components. Such services will help you preserve the longevity of your large vehicle and avoid additional mileage and potential road hazards.
Let’s agree. Although a vehicle has many components, the engine is the most vital; it’s the heart. In fact, without a car engine, your vehicle won’t move an inch. Therefore, your engine must top the list among the auto services to prioritize. The good news is that most contemporary vehicles will give you a check engine sign. According to Forbes, the average costs of common check engine fixes are $244 to replace an oxygen sensor, $336 to fix a mass air flow sensor and $25 for a defective gas cap.
Although often overlooked, air filters are vital for keeping debris and dirt away from the car’s engine. Moreover, they keep the air conditioning system functioning seamlessly. So, to avoid an expensive heating repair, you must ensure that your air filters are working optimally. Typically, the filters maintain efficient airflow in your vehicle and prevent particles from damaging the heating system, providing efficient heat transfer and improved air quality.
You must also pay attention to your car’s engine coolant levels. Coolants prevent engine overheating. Although a regular visual inspection may help identify minor coolant leaks, you must take your vehicle to a professional for an effective and thorough check-up and diagnosis.
Pro tip: Never ignore the ‘check engine’ light. When it goes on, you must immediately take your vehicle to a professional mechanic for a check-up. Note that specialist mechanics offer the best services. For instance, Norton auto operator is well versed in offering long-lasting solutions to specific Norton issues. Prompt action helps avoid unnecessary expensive repairs, saving you money.
Steering and Suspension
Steering and suspension check-ups are among the essential auto services to prioritize to keep you safe on the road. Mainly, the service involves inspection, wheel alignment, suspension system maintenance, steering system maintenance, shock and strut replacement, ball joint replacement, and control arm replacement. A competent mechanic will conduct a thorough visual inspection to check for component wear and tear signs. Typically, the check will involve examining control arms, steering linkage, bushings, tie rods, struts, ball joints, shocks, and springs.
The next check on the line is wheel alignment. This process involves adjusting the angles of your vehicle’s wheels that contact the road to ensure ideal alignment. According to Bankrate, wheel alignment costs between $50 and $170.
Immediately after wheel alignment, prioritize suspension system maintenance. Here, the mechanic lubricates suspension components, adjusts the suspension system height, and replaces damaged bushings to keep shocks, struts, and springs functioning at peak levels. According to the Pricer, the services will cost you between $1,100 and $5,200. With suspension enhanced, go to steering system maintenance. It involves checking power steering fluid levels, lubricating steering components, and inspecting and replacing worn-out steering components such as steering racks, tie rods, or steering columns.
If your vehicle’s shocks and struts are worn out, replace them immediately. According to How Much Is It, replacing these parts will cost you between $100 and $300! Professional labor costs will typically depend on the part’s brand, your retailer, and your vehicle’s make and model. Restoring shocks and struts will restore the comfort of your ride and proper suspension.
The main culprit for defective steering and suspension systems is damaged ball joints. According to the Pricer, replacing them will cost you between $450 and $820. Also, if your control arms are damaged, you must replace them immediately to maintain proper suspension geometry and control. According to How Much Is It, the replacement cost ranges between $175 to $425.
Although most drivers won’t have a problem driving with a minor crack on their windshield, glass repair should be among the essential auto services to prioritize. Are you wondering why? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
A windshield contributes to a vehicle’s structural integrity. In case of an accident, a cracked or damaged window won’t offer adequate protection. A compromised window increases the risk of injury or, worse, ejection from your car after a collision or an accident. On the other hand, auto glass replacement will enhance your safety on the road. According to Forbes, out-of-pocket windshield replacement costs roughly $350 to $550.
Driving with a cracked window can easily obstruct your visibility, especially if it’s on the driver’s side. As a result, driving your vehicle at night or during adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain becomes very dangerous. Additionally, driving with a damaged windshield is against the law in most jurisdictions and automatically attracts heavy fines and penalties. For example, according to Traffic Tickets, obstructed views attract a $150 fine, a surcharge of around $90, and two points on your licenses in New York. For this reason, you must fix or replace your windshield immediately to ensure you’re on the right side of the law.
Did you know that 622 people succumb to tire-related crashes annually? That’s true according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2021 data. A significant number of auto accidents are caused by worn-out tires, which is enough reason why you must include new tires among the essential auto services to prioritize. According to Nerdwallet, new tire prices range from $50 to $1,000. However, the price highly depends on the tire quality and type.
Your car’s tires are the only point of contact between the road and your vehicle. If worn out or damaged, it will negatively affect your car’s braking, stability, and handling, increasing the risk of an accident. Naturally, as tires wear out, their performance also deteriorates.
So, you must get new tires immediately after you notice reduced tread depth and grip to enhance your safety on the road. Also, new tires have quality rubber compounds and good tread depth, enhancing your vehicle’s performance, specifically by providing better acceleration, braking, cornering, and overall handling. It all leads to an enjoyable driving experience.
What’s more, worn-out tires automatically increase a vehicle’s rolling resistance. As a result, the vehicle engine works harder, consuming more fuel. However, well-inflated new tires with proper tread patterns reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel efficiency. Remember to bring in residential paving contractors to pave your driveway. The aim is to reduce tire wear and prevent slipping accidents. External factors like worn-out pavements cause a substantial number of accidents.
It’s dangerous to drive with a faulty braking system. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, brake-related problems account for nearly 22% of vehicle crashes. For this reason, when you notice your brakes aren’t functioning normally, ensure you schedule a braking system diagnosis immediately. The brake system is among the critical auto services to prioritize for your safety.
A worn-out or malfunctioning braking system significantly compromises your car’s ability to stop or slow down effectively. As a result, it increases the chances of getting involved in an accident. You must replace your brake pads to ensure optimal braking performance and enhance your overall safety on the highway. According to Nerdwallet, this auto repair costs between $115 and $270.
After some time, your vehicle’s brake pads and rotors will wear down, reducing their effectiveness. Typically, this results in poor control and handling, especially when navigating challenging road conditions, sudden stops, or shorter stopping distances. However, installing a new braking system ensures your vehicle maintains stability, preventing skidding and losing control.
What to Know About Using Auto Parts from Junk Yards
Car parts can be quite pricey. What if we tell you that you can get components at affordable rates? Junkyards have quality car parts and automotive tools for sale that can save you money. However, before purchasing any tools or auto parts from the junkyard, you must ensure that the tools and auto parts are compatible with your car’s make, model, and year.
Inspect the car parts thoroughly. While junkyards function to salvage usable parts, they may probably have wear and tear. So be sure to check for signs of rust, damage, and excessive wear that could affect the performance and lifespan of the vehicle.
While getting the right auto parts from the junkyard and knowing which auto services to prioritize is essential, hiring a competent mechanic is equally important. Top-notch mechanics go the extra mile to offer maintenance, hybrid car detailing, and repairs. Hire a certified mechanic with the right credentials to prove their competency. It will also help to read online reviews before settling on a dealership.
Your car deserves all the care. Identify essential auto services to prioritize, such as engine and braking system services, to extend the service life of your vehicle and enhance the working conditions. If you adhere to routine repairs and maintenance, it will serve you for months on end. Check our website for more hacks and ideas on essential services your car needs.