While safety is at the top of the list any time you’re behind the wheel, keeping your vehicle in good working order plays a major role in getting you from one location to another reliably and safely. Scheduled maintenance and periodic checks are the best way to prevent costly repairs.
But even with regular checks, there are times when something will go wrong with a vehicle. When this happens, two things come to mind: how bad the problem really is, and how much it’s going to cost to fix it. While having a safe car is a priority, there are a few repairs that don’t need immediate attention.
Under the Hood and Exterior
Fluid leaks can be a sign of an impending problem. A small drip may be the first indication of a compromised oil pan seal, valve cover gaskets, timing cover seal, or loose bolts. Schedule a maintenance check to determine if an immediate repair is on the agenda. A significant puddle of fluid means the problem has escalated and should be checked immediately.
Hoses and belts can deteriorate over time. This comes with age, weather, and normal wear and tear. While a split, hole, or tear needs to be repaired immediately, visible signs of dryness and/or the potential for cracking are signs these items will need to be replaced in the near future.
Sometimes a tire loses air due to a small puncture. Getting the tire patched is an easy way to avoid the cost of a new replacement tire, especially if the tire in question still has a lot of useful tread.
Since a horn is your way of alerting other drivers or pedestrians, if it stops working it’s in your best interest to have it repaired as soon as possible, but the fact it isn’t working does not affect the functionality of the car’s inner workings.
Everyone wants to ride in comfort, but should the air conditioning unit fail, you can hold off on repairs.
A heating system failure is on the same level as the air conditioner. You can wait to get it fixed.
The motor that operates a power seat can malfunction or completely fail. Unless you’re not able to drive the vehicle safely with the seat in its “frozen” position, you can hold off on an immediate repair.
Illumination inside the car is helpful, but not a requirement. If the overhead light stops working, it may only be a fuse issue.
For many cars, the driver’s side window has a control panel to manipulate each window. If the motor fails, the window will be stuck in its current position. If the window is rolled all the way up, you can wait to have the motor replaced. If the window is rolled down or is partially open, the glass would need to be manually pulled to the "up" position.
Unless the headliner is drooping and interfering with your ability to see clearly through each window, repair or replacement at a future date is an option.
Gadgets and Accessories
Along with the air conditioner and heater, the radio, DVD player, GPS system, cigarette lighter, video recorders/dash cams, Bluetooth connectivity kits, data ports, radar detectors, or any other accessory don’t require an immediate repair.
Power Seat Heater
This is a nice addition especially during the winter months, but it is a repair that can wait.
Use the owner’s manual to learn about the areas of your vehicle and the maintenance checks recommended by the manufacturer. The make, model, and year of your vehicle is important as to how often it needs to be checked. Newer cars may not have the same need or as many areas to check as an older car, so keep this in mind when creating your own checklist.