Automotive expert Lauren Fix chimes in on this car problem that she says people often ignore—something that’s incredibly unwise. After all, your brakes are the only thing that can actually stop your car! “That screech you hear is the brake pad (the friction material the runs against the rotor to stop your vehicle) indicator rubbing against the brake rotor (the big metal disc that you see through the wheels),” she explains. Make an appointment with your dealer or local mechanic the first time you hear this screech, not the hundredth. Why? At this point, says Fix, “it could be as simple as a $200 brake job of new pads and rotors. If ignored, the brake pads will continue to make noise and wear even further until the braking material is gone. This is where it gets really expensive with a $2,000 brake overhaul.”
TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) lights are another frequent car problem that drivers tend to ignore. “If your tyre is losing air, it could be because of a puncture or a worn tyre,” says Allen. “When this light comes on, it’s important to make sure your tyre is filled with the correct amount of air. If you fill it and the TPMS light keeps coming on, that’s an indicator of a chronic leak, and the tyre will need fixed.” Not only do you want to avoid a flat, but correct tyre pressure will also keep you safe on the road.
If you start to notice random puddles under your car or tiny rivers that start to flow beneath your ride in the driveway and in carparks, don’t brush these issues aside. Leaks from your car—whether it’s fuel, coolant, or oil—can dramatically affect your safety and the overall performance of your vehicle, says Arevalo. If you notice a leak, take your car straight to a mechanic so you don’t end up paying a lot more for the repair in the future.
Sign up here to get Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories straight to your inbox!