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The Most Overlooked Car Repairs
●September 28, 2021●4 minute read
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Taking proper care of your vehicle is one of the most important aspects of owning a car. Regular maintenance and check-ups ensure everything is running smoothly and your safety is not at risk.
However, remembering to stay up to date with services can easily turn into a chore, and result in some serious problems down the road. Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you by compiling a list of the top three overlooked car repairs.
1. Steering repairs
Your car’s power steering system is the backbone of your vehicle. It ensures a smooth and accurate directional change when driving, and helps the driver by reducing the effort needed to steer the car. It’s a rather complex system that’s made up of pumps, hoses, drive belts, and other features that require regular maintenance for optimal driving performance. Thanks to this complexity, mechanics usually can’t pick up on problems or issues with the steering system until something goes pear-shaped.
A telltale sign that your power steering system is malfunctioning is hearing funny noises when turning your steering wheel. If it sounds as though your car is whining when you turn the corner, or you feel resistance when turning, you’re best off organising a visit to your local mechanic to have it checked out.
While it’s an easy fix, ignoring steering issues can lead to serious problems down the track. It’s important to note that inspecting a car’s power steering and replacing power-steering fluid is not generally included in a regular service, so you should ask the mechanic to include this if you feel it’s time for a refresh.
Along with power steering systems going haywire, maintaining correct wheel alignment can be helpful in keeping your steering in check.
2. Wheel alignment
Wheel alignment is another important aspect of maintaining your car. Having proper alignment allows your tyres to have an even wear, and last as long as possible. It makes sure you have a smooth ride, as well as a safe one, and also improves your fuel efficiency.
When you take your car for a wheel alignment, they don’t actually revolve your vehicle’s wheels; instead, they adjust the car’s suspension.
There are a few things to look out for that indicate a misalignment problem. These include:
- ‘Smooth’ wear on the inside or outside of your tyres;
- Irregular tread wear;
- Raised edges on tread block.
While you might not consider yourself much of a mechanic, it’s important to always listen for strange sounds while driving or odd-looking features on your wheels. If you’ve bought a secondhand car, or are unsure who fitted your last set of wheels, it’s a good idea to head to your local mechanic shop and have them check over the alignment. This can save you a lot of money (and stress) later down the track if misalignment is the issue.
3. Replacing tyres
Our tyres transport us tens of thousands of kilometres each year, so it’s only fair to keep them in top shape. However, while we know that regular servicing is necessary for your car, it’s easy to overlook the importance of replacing tyres when the time comes. This is made more difficult considering there’s no definitive time frame for replacing your tyres.
Each vehicle has its own lifespan when it comes to tyres. Depending on how often you drive, and what style of driving you do (e.g. off-road), you may be finding your tyres need replacing sooner than someone who only drives to and from work. This lifespan also depends on the design of your tyres. Common factors that can damage or slowly eat away at your tyres include speed bumps, kerbs and potholes, as well as extreme climates and erratic driving habits.
If you’re looking for signs that indicate the need for tyre replacement, check whether:
- The tread has been worn down past the recommended depth levels;
- Holes in the tread are more than 6mm in diameter;
- The sidewalls are damaged.
The general rule of thumb is to have your tyres professionally inspected each year once they’ve been on for five years. If you manage to keep them in good condition for an extensive period of time, you should make sure to replace them after ten years – even if they seem in good nick.
Importantly, you should be aware that different vehicles require different types of tyres. If you’re not savvy with cars, don’t stress – your local mechanic will be able to fit the correct style to your car. If you’re wondering how much tyre replacement can cost, you can learn more here.
Understanding the basics of car maintenance will help you keep an eye out for warning signs. Even though it may mean a trip to the mechanic, it’s good to catch these things early and save yourself money in the long run.
If covering the costs of these repairs is taking a toll on your finances, there are ways to get assistance. Jacaranda Finance offers car repairs loans of up to $15,000 and can be a helping hand when it comes to staying on track with your vehicle’s maintenance. You can find out more about our car repair loans.
Additionally, you can check out our articles on common car repairs and easy DIY car repairs to learn more.
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Written by Katie Francis
Katie Francis is a Content Writer at Jacaranda Finance. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Business (Marketing)/Media & Communications at the Queensland University of Technology.