Who would have thought that some of the most expensive vehicle repairs are some of the easiest to prevent in the first place? That’s right; By simply keeping up with routine maintenance and having inspections performed at regular intervals, you can maximize the life of your vehicle and save thousands in repair costs. So to save you from having to learn the hard way about the importance of routine maintenance, we’ve listed five of the most expensive vehicle repairs that can easily be prevented.
#1: Transmission Repair
Your vehicle’s transmission is arguably its most complex part, which is why transmission repairs are among the most costly fixes. The transmission consists of thousands of individual components that are removed, cleaned and inspected during a repair. Any worn or damaged parts are repaired or replaced. Then each part is put together in one of many assemblies. Each assembly then needs to be adjusted and tested for proper operation, before being installed in the transmission case and inspected again. Whenever you take your car in for an oil change, be sure to ask the mechanic to check your transmission fluid level and look for potential leaks. Don’t forget to regularly review the maintenance checklist in your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see when the transmission fluid should be changed, if at all.
#2: Seized Engine
A seized engine occurs when the engine is low on oil, causing the moving metal parts of your engine to grind against each other. It can also occur when the coolant is too low, which causes the engine to severely overheat. There are typically warning signs when an engine is about to seize. You might hear light tapping noises or a faint knocking sound before the final dead knock. To prevent engine problems, have your oil changed and other fluids checked as recommended in your owner's manual.
#3: Head Gasket
The head gasket is what seals off the engine block from the cylinder head, allowing compression and preventing motor oil from mixing with engine coolant. Engine overheating is what usually causes the head gasket to malfunction, which is another reason it’s so important to maintain a proper coolant level in your vehicle. Remember to shut your vehicle off BEFORE it overheats if possible.
#4 Tire Replacement
Cost: $300-$1,100 (for most cars)
Though you will have to buy tires when they wear out on any car, you can definitely prolong the life of them with proper maintenance. Most tires are replaced long before their life expectancy simply because they were not maintained. If you rotate and balance your tires every 5000 to 6000 miles, check and adjust your wheel alignment every other rotation, and maintain the right air pressure, your tires will last a lot longer than you think. Old and worn shocks and struts hurt tire wear also, but not nearly as much as improper tire maintenance.
Brake pad replacement is inevitable. You can, however, extend the life of your brakes just by changing your driving habits. By keeping a safe braking distance and eliminating constant and hard braking, you will extend the life of your brakes. Proper maintenance also rules out some repairs entirely. Have your brakes checked regularly so that you can replace them before the noises start. Brake noise is an indicator that they have worn too much and possibly caused rotor damage, which can double the cost of your brake repair. So, don’t drive aggressively and check your brakes regularly and you will minimize the frequency and cost of your brake repairs.
Here at AAA Car Care, we know how a major vehicle repair can be a huge setback, which is why we offer all of our members free maintenance inspections. We’ll top off all of the vehicle’s fluids and let you know if we find any potential issues. Visit your nearby AAA Car Care Center for all your service and maintenance needs. For additional savings, print your car care coupons below.