Photo: Patrick on Unsplash

Paying attention to the small glitches can stop them growing into big problems

Small signals are the first sign that a car may be on its way to costly problems.

Motorists are always looking for ways to save on their vehicle maintenance – especially now that recent petrol hikes are placing them under even more pressure. 

One way to put a brake on expenses is by making sure the car is in good running order. Although most modern vehicles are equipped with warning lights and other alerts intended to warn owners about malfunctions, there are other, smaller tells that may provide a heads-up even before these issues develop. By attending to these glitches before they become big problems, motorists stand to save a lot of money.

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Photo: Enis Yavuz on Unsplash

Here’s what to look out for:

  • A warning light is, of course, an obvious sign that something has gone wrong – and yet, all too often, drivers feel they can ignore these signals. It’s critical to advise your clients about what warning signs mean, and to remind them that attending to them is a matter of urgency.
  • A grinding or squeaking sound made when the brakes are depressed are a sign that brake discs are coming under pressure and should be replaced before they give way to far more costly (not to mention dangerous) brake failure.
  • Tyres that have worn unevenly indicate that there is something wrong with the car’s suspension or alignment. If the steering wheel vibrates, even when driving on smooth surfaces, it’s an even stronger call to get the car checked. Drivers can avoid this altogether by ensuring their wheels are rotated with every oil change or regular service.
  • Even a small windscreen crack can grow into something more serious over time, posing a risk to the driver and passengers by threatening the structural integrity of the car. Fixing cracks is usually quick and easy, and is covered by most insurance companies.
  • A juddering steering wheel tells you that the car’s suspension needs to be seen to, or that the wheel bearings may fail shortly. It’s easy to address this problem by balancing the wheels.
  • A car that slowly starts to use more oil is trying to tell the driver that it’s time to change the oil and check oil filters. Smoking oil and reduced performance are also giveaways that there may be problems on the horizon, even before the oil light starts flashing.
  • Leaking radiator? It’s time to replace the unit, which most likely has been affected by corrosion and may soon start causing the car to overheat.
  • When the starter motor starts giving hassles, it’s important to take the car for a professional assessment. These problems may have any number of causes, from electrical issues to damage to the solenoid, or it may be the motor itself which needs to be replaced.