Posted on: 12 August 2019Share
Repairs can quickly begin to pile up on older vehicles. If a trip to your local mechanic has you breaking out in cold sweats, then it's time to step back, take a deep breath, and learn how to prioritize repairs to your vehicle. Just as with a human patient, car work can be triaged so that you deal with the most important and pressing issues upfront and leave other issues for later. This can help you to budget car repairs so that they don't have to break the bank or force you to put other, potentially more important purchases on hold.
Focus on Safety First
Your number one concern when dealing with an automotive issue should be safety. Although the potential exists for almost any part of the car to be a safety concern, there are certain components that are especially important to pay attention to. While most people know that putting off brake repairs is dangerous, many people ignore their tires for far too long. Tires are the only points of contact that your vehicle has with the road, and worn tires can create a major safety hazard in inclement weather conditions.
Likewise, never ignore warning lights indicating a problem with your airbags or restraint system. These active safety measures exist to protect you in an accident and failures can create the potential for serious injury if you are in a collision.
Pay Attention to Leaks
After dealing with safety problems, move your attention to major leaks. Oil, coolant, and transmission fluid leaks are not necessarily problems on their own, but they require careful attention to ensure that these vital fluids never fall too low. Minor leaks can very quickly develop into more serious issues and you cannot always rely on your car's sensors to warn you if one of these fluids falls too low. While these issues are not as pressing as problems with your brakes, tires, or safety equipment, don't wait too long before having a mechanic investigate fluid losses.
Suspension and Steering Next
If your car's handling feels "off" and you are sure that your brakes and tires are in good shape, then you likely have a problem with your suspension or steering system. These components can also produce unusual noises, especially when turning or going over rough road surfaces. As long as your car does not feel unsafe to drive, problems of this type are not necessarily a priority to repair immediately. Instead, you should have your car evaluated to determine where the problem lies and how serious it is. If it is a worn component that is unlikely to get worse, then you can safely put off repairs until a more convenient time.
Reach out to an auto repair professional for more information.