Is your check engine light on? Perhaps it has been lit up for a while now, and you just haven’t gotten around to taking the car into the shop for a quick look. If that’s the case, you really should go ahead and bite the bullet; there are many small problems that can cause your check engine light to turn on, and most are small problems easily dealt with. But these problems can just as easily turn into catastrophes of auto repair both for your car and your wallet if ignored for too long. One more tip: if your check engine light is not only lit up but blinking, it means the situation is serious.
One expensive and fairly common problem for people is a faulty fuel pump. This part should last the majority of the lifetime of your car, but with people driving their cars longer and longer, the need for a new fuel pump is experienced more often. Sometimes, however, the part simply breaks or just stops doing its job correctly, and your car won’t run. Auto repair for this part is sure to set you back at least a couple hundred dollars. You can avoid damage to your fuel pump by keeping your fuel tank filled up at least above a quarter tank at all times as low fuel levels add stress to the system.
Another small problem that may result in the need for more serious auto repair is faulty spark plugs. Spark plugs give ignition to the fuel in the engine, and generally must be replaced around every 30,000 miles. A misfiring spark plug can cost you gas mileage as well as engine power. Though the replacement of spark plugs doesn’t fit into the category of “avoidable” auto repair, ignoring it does damage to the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is next on the list for expensive, unnecessary auto repair – and is number one, actually.
The catalytic converter can cost around $1000 to replace, which is a travesty in that the part should never have gone bad at all. Catalytic converters fail when the spark plugs are ignored for too long, which puts stress on the rest of the system providing voltage. This is a model example of when simply paying attention to your car and replacing smaller parts can prevent the need for much more expensive auto repair later.