Bumpering Off Common Car BreakDowns

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Running a car is one of the biggest expenses any household has to shoulder – taxes, fuel, insurance, etc.

Just because we absolutely can’t do without wheels in modern day life we have an uncomfortable sense of dependence on our vehicles. They are a kind of life-line that we have a love-hate attitude towards. The hate part is this – aside from the everyday running costs, we all know how expensive car repairs can be and know that at some point they are inevitable.

What are the reasons your car might Break Down?

  • Normal wear and tear. Your car is a machine, it will wear out and break down eventually. However, how quickly this happens, and how expensive the maintenence and repair costs are, is a factor you can, and should, control, to a certain extent.
  • Bad driving. If you knew how responsible this factor is for incurring really expensive repair costs, you would quickly see the sense in changing your habits. This kind of ignorance in stressful economic times, with the current high costs of professional car repair, is definitely not blissful.
  • Accidents. They happen, you might say. Statistically not so; many accidents happen due to negligence towards essential maintenance.

Here are the findings published in an interesting press release by the AA, which clearly prove the point that regular preventative car maintenance is not a side issue:

  • accidents due to neglecting regular car maintenance amounted to  $2 billion in 2004.
  • preventative maintenance on an average car only costs $62.50 / month.

The critical question is – if you you don’t spend $62.50 a month, what are you likely to spend if your car breaks down?

Car break down problems can be broken down into 3 categories. In all three cases the solution is preventative maintenence, to minimise the possibilities of a worse and more costly problem occuring.

  • Essential maintenance – regular tune-ups
  • The most common break down problems
  • The most expensive, and sometimes common, breakdown problems

If you want a comprehensive list of these, with the cost they carry, it’s easy to find this information online. The scope of this article is to make you aware of the problem with a few indicative costs, and to point you towards how to minimise, if not completely eliminate, the potential costs.

For those of you who are handy and like to get under the bonnet, DIY car maintenance is definitely a good cost-saving option for regular tune-up maintenance. Respecting  the vehicle in your possession in this way will not only keep it running for longer, but it will run longer with fewer breakdowns. What would you be saving in professional mechanic costs?

  • Standard tune-up – $50.00 to $ 200.00
  • Complex tune-up – $500.00 to 900.00

This can be further broken down into specific maintenance tasks, which should be done at determined mileage intervals. Each carries its own price tag, some more affordable than others.

For example:

  • oil and oil filter change – suggested interval,  every 3000 miles – $30  to $70
  • rotar replacement –  suggested interval, every 50 000 miles – $300 to $400
  • tuning belt replacement  – suggested interval,  every100 000 miles – $150 to $1000

These are an example of unavoidable expenses, unless you’re a DIY person. Bluntly put, if you try to avoid them, you will almost cetianly have to pay very, very hefty bills at some point later on, because your car will be under so much strain, that it will beakdown.

Exactly how hefty is the price tag for these more expensive common breakdown and can they be dealt with in the same DIY fashion?

Usually not. This is because cars have become so sophisticated and manufacturers so mercenary and determined to keep you as their paying client, even after you have purchased the car from them, that professional mechanic costs cannot be avoided. Specifically this is because most of these repairs involve diagnostic equipment and special tools, which only the dealer has access to.

But the issue you need to realise very clearly is that, in most cases, these breakdowns can be avoided with timely preventative maintenance, which does not always require these expensive diagnostic procedures.

To quote a few (the average cost source is CarMD):

  • engine breakdown – diagnostic equipment dependant- average cost $305.56– avoidable with correct maintenance.
  • Replacing oxyen sensor – this repair has been removed from the DIY realm, because though it is a essentially an easy job, only the dealer has the special tool to remove the cover – cost $238.71.

This is a simple demonstration of how some costs are created by the manufacturer, while others are due to poor maintenance.

What will the very expensive break downs cost?

  • blown motor – $1000 to $ 4000 – avoidable with preventative maintenance.
  • transmission replacement – $ 1800 to $3500 for a replacement; $1000 to $2000 for a repair – avoidable by changing fluid every 2 to 3 years, and driving correctly.

The final issue to address is bad driving habits.  This is a very neglected area of preventative maintenance, simply because we are creatures of habit and don’t like to change them- even the bad ones! I hope this gives you some incentive to do so…

  • Do you rest your hand on the shifter? You are causing internal wear.
  • Do you forget to use your parking brake?  Your parking pawl will definitely wear out at some stage and break.
  • Are you carrying too much stuff? You are consuming more fuel than you need and submitting your suspension, brakes to stress which will cause them to breakdown, eventually.

The good news is this: though at some point repairs are inevitable and, in some cases, essential (like tune-ups), there are ways of reducing the likelihood of some of the most expensive from happening, if you take an informed and systematic approach. The key to running a car efficiently, is preventative maintenance so refer to the experts at whocanfixmycar for your bi-annual check-ups.

The comprehensive list is much longer than this. Bad driving is a potential minefield of accidents waiting to happen. Do yourself a favour, search for a  a complete list online and try to break those destructive  habits  – or risk breaking your bank balance.

Common car repairs don’t need to be a nightmare which take you unaware. Plan the maintenance of your car, the same way you plan your life – bumper off disaster in a logical, practical way.

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