Oftentimes warning lights, squeaks, vibration or noises are ignored by vehicle owners as the car seems to be functioning fine otherwise. But what is the cost of ignoring these signs?

In some cases the cost can be negligible such as squealing brakes when the pad material is over the minimum thickness since replacing the pads before they are too thin will cost the same as replacing them right away when there is sufficient friction material left on the pads.

In most other cases, ignoring a warning sign can lead to costs much greater than the original repair would have been. Take the brake scenario for instance. Some cars are equipped with sensors that cause brake squealing when the pad material is thin enough that the brakes need replaced. Ignoring that can lead to damage to the brake rotors greatly increasing the cost of a simple brake service. Another example is ignoring a small fluid leak.

Water pump seal failures often start very small but can fail catastrophically very quickly. A prime example is a person noticing a small spot of fluid under the car when pulling out of their driveway but ignoring it. Then, a quick trip to grandma’s house a couple of hours away and the pump seal fails suddenly leaking large amounts of coolant quickly. This can lead to an overheating of the engine turning a $300 water pump replacement into a $5,000 engine replacement. Believe me, we have seen this happen all too often.

The point is, do not ignore a new noise that wasn’t there last week, a vibration you just noticed, or a smell that is unusual. Have any of these things checked and then you can make an informed decision whether to address it right away or if it can be put off until it is convenient and funding has been saved.

All in all, there is no substitute for routine maintenance to be performed on a regular basis at your independent repair facility.

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Posted in Car Advice