Owning an automobile is one of life’s great pleasures and it opens up the whole world, or at least all of North America, for us to explore. But when owning an automobile goes wrong, we get stuck in a rut as our car undergoes repairs and maintenance.
After we learn to drive, very few of us keep learning and developing our knowledge of how our cars work, or the things they need us to do for them. Lackluster maintenance can lead to big bills down the road, and some mechanics can see you coming from a mile away if you don’t know your tailpipe from your turbo-charger. Here we are going to look at some of the things you can do to keep your car healthy, and your wallet wealthy.
Listen to Your Car
Your car is like your body; it will find ways to tell you if something is wrong. A knocking sound in the engine, or from a wheel well, will give you a good clue to the nature and location of the problem. Engine knock is often caused by poor lubrication, so check your oil levels and oil quality. You may have an oil temperature gauge, so check that isn’t in the red zone. It is a simple job to top up your engine oil, and performing your own oil change isn’t that difficult either.
A knocking wheel will often mean poor alignment or suspension issues. These are problems for a mechanic, but going in with some knowledge helps you avoid being taken for a ride. Modern cars also have sophisticated engine management systems that will warn you of a problem, or help you find one if you hear something troubling. It’s always a good idea to check your manual for help on using these systems and for other information on common problems.
Research Your Vehicle
A car’s user manual is a good place to start building your knowledge of your automobile, but you shouldn’t stop there. Many of the largest car models from the bigger manufacturers have whole books available on their engines and features, which often have information about preventing unnecessary wear and tear on your car.
The internet is also a useful resource if you want to find out more about your automobile, as just about every make and model has a devoted web forum or Facebook group. There you can find help and advice from owners just like you, and they will have faced many of the same problems you have, and ones to come that you are yet to experience. You can even find helpful information about your specific car on some websites by searching its Vehicle Identification Number. This can give you a full history of a car’s servicing, ownership and even any financing that was once placed on the car.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask an Expert
Sometimes, like after a collision or a catastrophic engine failure, you are going to need to consult an expert like auto body repair Tampa to assess the damage and help come up with a solution. Having some knowledge of the problem will give you the confidence you need to talk about your car competently and understand what your mechanic is saying and advising. A little automobile wisdom goes a long way, and with some small mental investment, you could save yourself thousands of dollars in repairs over the course of your car’s life.
No one should be afraid to attempt basic car repair themselves, and knowledge is a powerful ally when dealing with a mechanic.