Safe Car, Safe Family: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Car’s Cries for Help

car troubleWho is the most under-appreciated member of your family? Well, you probably wouldn’t guess this, but it’s likely your car. We all rely on our cars to get us safely from A to B, and then back again, over and over, and over. But most of us are guilty of going a little too long between trips to the auto mechanic.

We procrastinate because it’s never fun to spend a day or longer without a car. And who wants to drag the kids to the auto shop? Just the thought is enough to make you want a nap.

But when your car is almost literally crying for help, it’s time. Actually, it’s past time.

Here are a few reasons why you should never (ever) ignore your car’s cries for help:

Oil prevents your car from blowing up

This may sound dramatic, but oil really is the lifeblood of your car. Without enough oil, your engine would get too hot and it would combust. And oil isn’t like gasoline where you can wait until the very last minute to fill ‘er up. One of oil’s jobs in your engine is to prevent debris (varnish and carbon) from accumulating. As it pulls out this debris, the oil gets thicker. If you let your oil get too low, it may become ineffective sludge that can stop things up. Ideally, you should get your oil changed before the light comes on to keep the car running smoothly.

Good tire pressure prevents blowouts

When that tire pressure light goes on, your tires are crying out for help. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a leak. Tire pressure can change as the outside air temperature changes with the change in seasons. Try topping off the air to see whether that fixes the problem before you go shopping for new tires. Keeping your tire pressure at the right level will help your car run fuel efficiently and help prevent tire blowouts.

Brake lights are always an emergency

If the dashboard brake light comes on, you’ve got a problem. The easiest fix would be if your emergency brake was on. But if that’s clearly not the case, you need to get to the mechanic stat. There could be a problem with your anti-lock braking system (ABS) or your brake pads could have worn down.

Thirsty cars are dangerous

If your car is low on anti-freeze or coolant, you’ll see a light on the dashboard. Thankfully, these are easy fixes as long as there isn’t a leak. You simply need to get more fluids into your car. Although it’s usually an easy fix, it’s one you should never ignore. These fluids help keep your engine at a good working temperature. Coolant is more important in the summer and anti-freeze in the winter, but it’s always a good idea to keep them both topped off.

Now that we know all the things that could go wrong, let’s show our cars a little love. Newer cars typically don’t need a lot of maintenance, but you should never ignore these warning signs.

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