Most car owners learn in their teens and early twenties the basics for maintaining and repairing motor vehicles. They’re typically told by parents and teachers that they must regularly top off and change fluids. They’re also told that they might need to replace certain parts that wear out, such as fuses, headlight bulbs, wiper blades, and tires. Yet, they’re not always warned that they might need to repair and replace certain far more costly parts during their car’s lifetime. Consider these four overlooked service areas:
Drivers often overlook that their windshields are made of glass. A day then comes when you’re forced to recognize the fragility of glass, even-tempered and laminated glass when an errant rock pops up from the road and hits your windshield in just the right way to crack it. You might learn this lesson when a hail storm passes through or after an accident. Whatever the cause, you must then pay for partial repair to fill cracks with a clear resin or complete windshield removal and replacement. You can help prevent the latter: Always seek an expert windshield repair technician’s opinion about tiny cracks and chips as soon as they happen. Small ones can quickly become big cracks and even cause the glass to shatter.
2. Body Surface
Although drivers know to expect scratches and dings on the surface of their vehicles, and far worse if they’re in an accident, many of them never realize the extent of damage that can happen over time. They also don’t understand the high cost of repair services that can become necessary to restore the surface. You might need to pay a professional to pop out a medium or large dent and repaint the surface or replace the hood or a door entirely. Over time, sunlight and weather conditions can fade and peel coatings so badly that the only way to prevent rust is with total body repainting and resealing. If the body begins to rust, you might need to pay for full panel replacement.
A working transmission provides gear, power and speed control. Regular transmission maintenance, such as replacing the debris filter, flushing out old fluids and recognizing early signs of problems is necessary to prevent total failure while driving. Yet, many drivers only know how to refill the fluid. A regular maintenance inspection by an experienced transmission repair technician can help extend the life of your transmission. The technician can also help you to learn how to recognize the early signs of transmission failure, such as slippage by gears, noise and difficulty shifting.
4. Exhaust System
Lastly, most drivers know that muffler and tailpipe replacement is a common occurrence over the life of their vehicles. Yet, they fail to remember that the entire exhaust system can just as easily degrade as the tail end of it. The heat that passes through a vehicle’s exhaust can cause manifold cracking and when combined with moisture and other materials in the air, exhaust pipe rust. In colder climates, rock salt and chemicals used on roadways can also rust out the system. Road debris can strike the underside of the vehicle and system at any time, which can lead to expensive patches and replacements.
You can prepare for these services. Start today by putting aside money specifically for vehicle emergencies. More importantly, always keep up with bi-annual and annual maintenance appointments. Although you might feel like you’re looking for trouble, paying upfront for maintenance inspections can save you time and money in the long run. If you maintain your car, a trusted auto technician can even give you enough forewarning about necessary repairs that you can prepare ahead so that the disruption doesn’t adversely affect your schedule or finances.
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