Most blog posts here on the official blog of Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair go over the important services and areas of the car that MUST be tended to. We talk brake repair: the signs of failure, how to keep your brakes lasting longer, etc. We talk about fuel efficiency, exhaust issues, and other basics that come up on a daily basis and they car owners should remain aware of. The "greatest hits" are just that---the most common services and those that make up most of our work as a repair shop.
There are a few less-routine, less-discussed areas of the car, that are very easy to ignore. These are the types of services that present an issue for us. That's because when we present the customer with our recommendation to have these ignoreable auto repair areas repaired or serviced, it's common for them to think that it isn't vital, or that a mechanic shop may be "looking for" things to repair. So, we want to go ahead and discuss these "unmentionable" areas, and we'd like to refer to these as.......
.....The most neglected services, and the top auto repairs that drivers like to ignore:
1. Shocks and Struts
Shocks and struts help provide your smooth ride by absorbing bumps and dips in the road. The problem with recommending these services is that you aren't repairing something that is clearly broken. Instead, it's over time that the performance of these parts begins to deteriorate. Many drivers get used to the gradual change and don't realize just how "bumpy" their ride has gotten. They aren't the cheapest repair, but they truly are necessary and essential to your car's performance and health. In fact, they also help you in braking, which means a new set can be important for YOUR health as well. The good news is that most vehicles can go for 50,000 to 100,000 miles without needing a change.
2. The Exhaust System
Now, this portion of the car isn't always easy to ignore because of the oxygen sensors that will alert you when things are acting up. And, if you fail an emissions test, the subject quickly turns to this system and its components. But, because your muffler and catalytic converters aren't the most apparent parts to a driver, it's easy to forget or be skeptical about paying for these repairs.
Starting at about 100,000 miles to 200,000 miles, the exhaust system and your muffler can become prone to build-ups from deteriorating parts, and also prone to rusting out. Some schools of thought suggest that when you start experiencing issues, you should truly consider getting the catalytic converters, the muffler, and the oxygen sensors overhauled simultaneously. It's not cheap, but it can bring the performance of your vehicle to the point of feeling "new again". The exhaust system is clear and efficient and also protects from other harmful side effects on fuel efficiency and engine wear and tear.
3. Belts and Hoses
Hoses and Belts aren't the same thing, but we've grouped them together because drivers may approach their repair the same way. The problem is that you MUST trust the recommendation of your auto repair technician, otherwise, you may have no true idea of what needs to be done and when. Any good auto repair shop makes sure to check over your car on any service appointment, large or small. Belts and hoses (plus gaskets) are key parts of these checks.
For hoses, we're talking about fluids that could be leaking from gaskets or seals or the hose itself. Some of these leaks are slow and don't initially cause any issues. Putting off a repair can lead to an eventual breakdown though, and could truly harm many more areas of the vehicle. You'll want to take this recommendation.
As far as belts go, putting off a repair is even more risky, especially for your timing belt. If your timing belt breaks, you will ruin your entire engine---very costly! Following your car's manual will give you some idea of when to safely have your belts changed out, but an experienced technician will also be able to spot signs of wear.
Because neither belts nor hoses or leak issues cause noticeable changes for the driver, they are likely to be procrastinated upon. Unfortunately, procrastination can lead to larger issues, by wearing down other parts of the car or creating a major breakdown in the future.
If you do not trust your regular mechanic, then please, find a mechanic you CAN trust. It's probably the biggest tip we can give you. Your trusted adviser in car care will make sure that these commonly ignored areas are brought to your attention and handled properly. It may cost money to fix these things, but it's also a way to regain performance and keep your car running much more like it did when it was new. If you live in the Bellevue, WA, or Greater Eastside areas and need a mechanic you can trust, please give us at Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair a call today.