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The Cost of Not Knowing the Basics of Your Car

Some Drivers Know Nothing About Their Cars

Imagine you were driving alone on a road trip for hours. And then, suddenly, you heard a screeching sound from somewhere in your car. Your car suddenly stopped. You’re not sure if the noise is from your engine or your wheels. But, you’re sure enough to know that something is wrong with your car. You went around and inspected, and then, you finally saw the culprit: Your tires were worn out.

You wanted to ask for help but no one is around. What will you do?

Are you clueless, too? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many Americans do not know anything about fixing their cars. Some do not even know how to fix their car tires. This does not only put their safety on the line. It also puts their wallets on the brink of spending too much on maintenance.


Few Americans know about how their cars work

According to a survey conducted by Cooper Tires, 36% of the respondents said they wouldn’t know what to do when they get a flat tire. Half of the American drives also believe that they can change their car’s oil. Some wouldn’t even know which correct oil to use for their car. Meanwhile, others cannot even use an air pressure gauge to check their tire’s air pressure.

Yet, a survey shows that most car owners would most likely inspect under their car’s hood to see the problem. They’d rather do this than bring their car to the mechanic because they find them intimidating. Some also hesitate to go to the auto repair shop because they’re afraid of the amount they have to pay for its services.

Meanwhile, some Americans would rather pay a big amount for their vehicle checkups. In a separate study conducted by The Harris Poll, they found that in the last five years, American adults spent a total of $1,986 for vehicle repairs and maintenance. It’s the younger generation that is willing to pay the most for their vehicles. In the last five years, millennials and Gen Zers spent an average of $2,334 for the maintenance and repair of their cars. The older generation, meanwhile, only paid an average of $1,654.

Some Americans would rather not be stressed with repairs, though. According to the survey, 21% of them paid for a vehicle service contract or VSC in the last five years. This contract is an extended warranty, which covers the repair and part replacement costs. By having this service contract, the car owner will not have to pay for every repair when their vehicle encounters a problem. On average, it costs $300 to $1,000 every year, depending on the scope of coverage.


The most common car problems

According to a recent survey conducted by Utire, the top 10 most commonly ignored vehicle problems are the following:


  • Cracked or broken windshield
  • Misaligned wheels
  • Overdue oil change
  • Worn-out tires
  • Check engine light turned on
  • Defective brakes
  • Screeching sound from the engine or wheels
  • Tire leaks
  • Defective windshield washer
  • Headlight out


Survey says a car owner will have to spend a total of $1,193 for repairs and services over the life span of the vehicle if they keep delaying maintenance. Common reasons for delaying maintenance include:

  • Too little time to bring the car to the mechanic
  • No budget for repair
  • They don’t see it as urgent
  • They can’t go on without a car for too long
  • Anxiety
  • Do not trust car mechanic


What most car owners do not realize is that it will cost them more if they keep on delaying bringing their car to the mechanic. Not only will the car problem get worse over time. It will also put your life in danger if you keep on using it. Car mechanics know what they’re doing, so might as well trust them.


Knowing the basics will save you

Getting a car doesn’t just end with being able to drive one. Just as you learned how to drive, it is also your responsibility to at least learn the basics. Knowing how to change oil is a must, as you have to do it every time. By knowing the most common problems drivers encounter with their vehicles, you will at least have an idea of what tools to bring in your car every time you go for a drive. You should also at least know how to change a flat tire as this is the most common you’ll have to encounter.

If you know the basics, you will also save a thousand bucks for every possible visit to the mechanic. You wouldn’t want to be spending much every time you hear a slight screeching sound.

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