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How To Avoid Car Trouble

Car trouble can happen to any motorist anytime. The odds of car trouble increase with the age of your vehicle, but even new cars can occasionally have problems. Some car problems are minor, but some may affect driving safety or result in a breakdown that leaves you stranded. In any event, car trouble is something you want to avoid.

So how do you avoid car trouble? If you can afford to buy or lease a new car every three or four years, you can probably avoid car trouble completely (or at least expensive auto repairs because the warranty covers most such expenses that might be incurred). New car warranties these days are typically 3 years or 36,000 miles or longer, with many having extended powertrain warranties of 5 years or 60,000 miles, and a few up to 10 years or 100,000 miles (Kia & Hyundai).

If you can't afford to trade cars so often, you'll have to make do with driving an older high mileage vehicle. To avoid car trouble with an older vehicle, preventive maintenance is an absolute must. Take good care of your car and it should provide reliable transportation for you. Preventative maintenance usually cost much less than the repairs that result from maintenance neglect, so maintain your vital fluid levels, change the oil and filters at the recommended intervals, and take care of small problems before they turn into expensive problems.

A car that is not reliable is a car you cannot depend on. Yet if you drive your vehicle long enough, sooner or later you will have problems with it. Nothing lasts forever, and electronic and mechanical components are no exception. Some parts like brakes, tires and clutch linings wear with mileage and use. Other parts such as the battery, spark plugs, filters and wiper blades have a limited service life. The big expensive components like the engine and transmission are supposed to last the life of the vehicle (with proper maintenance), which today should be 150,000 to 200,000 miles. But some parts fail to go the distance and fail.

How to Handle Car Trouble

You can go online and visit a website like AA1Car Auto Diagnosis Repair Help to find help for your car problem. Knowledge can save you a lot of money, even if you do not intend to repair your vehicle yourself. If you are armed with information when you take your vehicle to a repair shop, new car dealer or other repair facility, you will be in a better position to understand what might be wrong with your car, what may be necessary to repair it, and how much the repairs may cost. See the list of car trouble resources below:

The Worst Kind of Car Trouble

The worst kind of car trouble is a breakdown or problem when you are out of town or traveling in an unfamiliar area far from home. Maybe the Check Engine Light just came on. Usually this is NOT a serious problem, but it should be checked out when you return home. Of more concern would be a sudden change in the way your engine runs, the way your vehicle steers, handles or brakes, or an unusual noise or vibration.

If your engine won't start, is making unusual noises or is overheating, you have a problem that requires immediate attention. These kinds of problems can leave you stranded and at the mercy of repair facilities who may try to take advantage of your situation.

If your vehicle is still under warranty, drive it or have it towed to the nearest new car dealer (if possible).

If you vehicle is out of warranty and you are having car trouble, look for a shop that is a member of AAA (American Automobile Assn.) or ASA (Automotive Service Assn.). You could also take your vehicle to a new car dealer, but they will likely have higher labor rates than an independent repair facility. Also, look for a shop that displays signage that their technicians are ASE certified.

Communicate clearly with the service writer, shop owner or technician as to the nature of your car trouble. Describe what is happening, when it is happening and any other information that may help them accurately diagnose your problem. Also, be sure to mention any other recent repairs or service that has been performed on your vehicle.

Do NOT tell the repair shop or technician what to fix or replace. That's their job. After diagnosing your vehicle, they should let you know what they have found, what they think is wrong, what needs to be repaired, how long it will probably take, and then hand you a written repair estimate as to how much everything should cost (parts and labor, plus any additional charges or fees).

Avoid Car Trouble by Avoiding Troublesome Cars

It's no secret that some cars are more trouble than others. Some have a great reputation for reliability and dependability while otheConsumer Reports publish vehicle reliability reports, rating the best and the worst vehicles in terms of repair frequency. If possible, avoid buying a vehicle with a poor reliability rating and try to buy one that has a high reliability rating. Following this advice is no guarantee you won't have car trouble, but the odds should be much less driving a vehicle that has a high reliability rating.

Car Trouble Resources:

Common Car problems (by symptom)

Warning Lights: What You Should and Should Not Do

Don't Get Overcharged for Auto Repairs

Advice on How To Avoid Auto Repair Fraud Scams & Rip-Offs

What Goes Wrong With Cars (and When)

Repair Advice: How Much Should It Cost To Get Your Car Fixed?

How to Pay for Auto Repairs

New Car Warranty Coverage: What Is Covered, What Is Not

Basic Auto Repair rights Scam Alerts

New Car Lemon Laws

Auto Repair Facts for Consumers Provided By the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Motorist Assurance Program (MAP)

How To Buy A Good Used Car (and NOT a Lemon!)

Where To Buy Auto Parts?

Auto Parts Buyers Guide

Alphabetical Index of All Auto Diagnosis & Repair Topics on website

AA1Car Automotive Diagnosis & Repair Library (browse by topic)

Car Trouble Related Links:

Carley Software






Mitchell 1 DIY eautorepair manuals

Mitchell Repair Information for the Do-it-Yourselfer

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