It’s a classic story – drive in for a scheduled service, drive out with an enormous bill.
Drivers love to complain about being stung at the garage, but what most motorists don’t understand is that a lot can go wrong with a car – and not all of it is visible to the person behind the wheel.
If you want to understand why you’re handing over hundreds at your next service, read on and learn about three of the most common surprise maintenance issues you might need to deal with.
Your car battery is responsible for getting your car started, but once you’re off and running it’s the alternator that takes over. The alternator works together with the engine to provide power for your car’s electrical components, charging the battery and ensuring that when you turn on the radio or the headlights, what you want to happen, happens.
Alternators rely on moving parts to function, meaning that after a while, the components that allow it to generate power will break down. When the alternator begins to lose effectiveness, you’ll notice it – headlights and dash indicators won’t be as bright, the air conditioning won’t function and the car will ultimately stall. Problems may also not be with the alternator itself but could be with the belt that links it to the crankshaft.
If you haven’t experienced any of the more dramatic symptoms of alternator failure yet, you might be surprised when the garage recommends a new one or a replacement belt. Understand that without a good quality alternator, your car isn’t safe to drive – and ultimately won’t be drivable at all.
Struggling to shift gears? Can’t find reverse? Or is your car nearly slipping out of second no matter how hard you push? You may be in for a shock next time you visit the garage. All of these problems are potentially symptoms of a fault in some part of the transmission.
While it could be something as simple as needing a top up on transmission fluid – normally included in a standard service – transmission problems could be a sign of something bigger. Trouble shifting gears could indicate a worn clutch or even worse, a cracked or stripped gear within the transmission.
Failing to catch these early could mean total transmission failure, and if your transmission goes, your vehicle is not safe to drive. Vehicles with a blown transmission slip in and out of gear, struggle to accelerate and are difficult to control, meaning you’ll most likely need a tow truck. In terms of expense, replacing a transmission is second only to replacing the engine block, so not staying on top of your servicing – or worse, ignoring symptoms – could saddle you with a very expensive repair bill.
Discovering a cracked gear or a worn clutch can be an expense, but it’ll save you the biggest cost of replacing a transmission.
Your radiator is a vital part of your car. From the moment you turn the ignition, your car is generating heat – and a lot of it. A modern car’s engine is designed to operate at around 90 to 100°C – running just 20°C higher for a sustained period of time can lead to engine pistons cracking, worn out bearings and blown out water pumps. Higher than that and you’re looking at a seized engine, blown head gasket or ruined cylinder heads – all of which are very, very expensive to fix!
That’s why you need to be looking after your radiator – the little box that keeps your engine from melting down. A crack in your radiator is a common fault that can often be easily patched, but if left long enough, that crack can grow, requiring the entire radiator as well as the thermostat and radiator hoses to be replaced. Without it, you’ll be leaking coolant and running the risk of your engine cooking itself to death. Staying on top of your scheduled servicing can ensure that even if a fault develops, you’ll only be paying a little bit extra, rather than forking out for a brand-new system.
Isn’t there another way?
Keeping up with those scheduled services is annoying. Carbar is a new way to drive, offering a no worries way for everyone to get the car they want, when and where they want it. For one flat weekly rate, you get exclusive access to a vehicle you’ll love to drive, bundled with insurance, registration, roadside assistance and – yes – servicing. We’ll even take care of booking the servicing for you and provide you with a replacement vehicle while it’s in the shop.
To learn more about car subscription, browse our range of vehicles or join for free, visit carbar.com.au today.