Yonkers, New York – A car will usually signal that something isn’t right long before it has a major failure, and fixing it early can avoid expensive repairs or being stranded, according to Consumer Reports.
As people are keeping their cars longer, maintenance and repairs are becoming a more pressing concern, the magazine said. Nearly half of respondents to the 2009 Car Brand Perceptions Survey reported they have delayed the purchase of a new vehicle.
“Following the recommended maintenance schedule in your vehicle owner’s manual is the best way to avert many large problems,” said David Champion, senior director of the Auto Test Center. “But taking immediate action when you hear a noise or feel something wrong can save you thousands of dollars on avoidable repairs.”
Simply putting off a $30 oil change for 11,000 miles (17,702 km) or more can be devastating to your car and your wallet. In some cases, sludge buildup can lead to engine failure, which can cost as much as $6,000 to replace. An oil leak caught early can be an inexpensive fix, but ignoring it can lead to engine failure. Timing belt replacement is also another routine repair that can lead to engine failure if not done on time.
Other common repairs that can avoid more expensive failures include replacing brake pads, regular tuneups, tire rotation, and repairing windshield cracks.