Where will you be when things go wrong? Hopefully, you’d already be in your driveway, but we all know this is rarely the case. In addition, colder temperatures and winter weather can make some parts of your car more susceptible to damage or failure. Here are five key points to have serviced – before you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.
1. Windshield Nicks
So you’re breezing down the highway, and a single piece of stray gravel or debris carves a tiny nick into your windshield. It may look small, but this can cause big problems if you don’t take it in for service as soon as you can.
Air pressure from inside of the vehicle, as well as environmental factors like freezing weather, can turn this nick into a large crack before you know it. Don’t chance it with a DIY repair kit; your windshield is too important to safe travel.
2. Weather Stripping and Door Seals
Ever been late for work because your door was frozen shut? This can be the result of worn weather stripping. In addition, doors and windows that won’t close properly can leave the inside of your car exposed to the elements, potentially resulting in costly water damage and mold.
Before the weather gets extreme, or if you spot the telltale signs of poor sealing, have your stripping checked during maintenance.
3. Brake Pads
What’s it like when you brake? Does your car shudder, squeal, or coast a little before coming to a stop? If so, it’s definitely time to check those brake pads, even if problems with noise or action seem minor.
Having them replaced is routine and rather simple, so there’s no point in putting it off. After all, you want your brakes to respond properly when driving in rain, ice, or heavy traffic.
4. Wheel Bearings
So your car has been really reliable – that’s great! However, if you’ve had it for years, or have logged a lot of miles on it, one or more of your wheel bearings may have worn down. The noises and sensations associated with this are wide-ranging, from grinding to snapping when either driving straight or making turns.
Wheel bearings allow your wheels to turn, and if you don’t address this area, letting it go can mean you’re suddenly locked in place – hardly a safe situation. It can also result in a trickle-down problem, where a damaged wheel bearing negatively impacts your axle and even your transmission.
Batteries are familiar to most of us, but we’re always surprised when our car won’t start in a parking lot and we have to ask someone for a jump. Have your mechanic check your battery each time you take your car in for an oil change or other service.
In your own time, keep an eye out for signs of corrosion and make sure the terminals are clear.
It’s easy to overlook things like chips, dim headlights, slight delays in braking, and windows that whistle when shut, but they can all snowball into bigger problems. Catching any issues before they become catastrophic can save your car, your budget, and your very well-being.