Pic source:commons.wikimedia.org FreakingNews.com - News Photoshop Pictures Contests - home page
I wish I had someone to educate me about basic car ownership. No one from my family and friend circle likes cars. My driving instructor couldn't care less, even when I asked questions. I had to fend myself from the mechanics and A.S.S. people who loved to take advantage of my situation. Even after spending money, I faced problems. To add to my woes, my family loves to change cars every 5 years on the dot. Hence, I never could really get to solve many a problem properly. Today, I am jotting down the few things that I feel should never be ignored, whether you are an enthusiast or not. Most of the things I have jotted down have been from my personal experience. I am lucky to have survived many scary situations.
After all, with freedom (which a car provides), comes responsibility.
I had an old tata indica v2. It was a lemon. What started out as a simple A/C 'not functioning' problem ended with engine failure, gearbox issues and electrical issues more than I care to remember. Tata engineers had given up on the vehicle. Tata vehicles were selling well (back in those days), and hence Tata couldn't care less about me.
Fortunately-unfortunately, the Indian 'jugaad' solutions helped me run this car for 90k kms before I got fed up (thankfully, resale was good and I did recover some money I had put into this car). I still marvel at my stupidity of keeping this car for so long. But, I did learn a lot from this vehicle. I am listing down some of the most important things that you shouldn't ignore in your vehicle. It doesn't matter whether you are an enthusiast or not. You simply shouldn't ignore these crucial things.
I like to think of cars not as machines, but rather a collection of various individual machines that all work together. But those components break down and we have to fix them, and some are more serious than others.
It's not the end of the world if you go a little longer than you should on oil changes from time to time. But there are some parts on your car you should never ignore, lest they put your safety at risk.
Ignore these, and you'll risk not only your hard earned money but also your life:
Pic source: Ford Kuga Owners Club - Ford Kuga Forums, News, Advice and Chat BIMMERPOST | BMW Forum, BMW News and BMW Blog boards.ie - Now Ye're Talkin'
I cannot even begin to emphasize on this point. The most important of all the listed points. Today, tyres are designed to take a lot of abuse but ignore them, and you are inviting Lord Yamraj.
These are your only contact on the roads. Keep a regular check. Inspect the tread, the alignment and rubber on the tyre.
Pic source: reddit: the front page of the internet
While you can save some money by using handbrakes for low speed braking, and engine braking; using these techniques you will not face a problem at city speeds. But what will happen when you see a pram rolling out in front of you? Never ignore your brake cylinders and brake lines. And for god's sake, please keep a thorough check on your brake pads and rotors!
3) Ball joints
Pic source: Illustrated Guide for Car Buyers and Owners | Samarins.com Redirecting to new FAQ page
Ball joints are your pivot between your steering and suspension. A bad strut / linkage will not endanger your life, but a bad ball joint..well inform your wife to prepare a sumptuous feast for Lord Yamraj.
The ball joint design in most cars resembles the ball and socket type joint found in the hip joint of humans. I'll leave it to your imagination what will happen when your hip joint will fail..
4) Timing belt
Pic source:Auto Repair Shop | Maintenance | Rebuild | Service | Plainfield IL Car Questions Answered for Free by Professional Mechanics, Repair Information and Manuals - 2CarPros
I speak this from personal experience. The indica in question one fine day decided to break down in the middle of nowhere. I thought it must have been the electrical theatrics the car loves to show me. My oh my..I ended up spending big $ on complete engine overhaul. Destroyed valves / pistons = death of engine.
Timing belt / chain / camshaft belt is a part of an internal combustion engine that synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft(s) so that the engine's valves open and close at the proper times during each cylinder's intake and exhaust strokes.
This is one component which is usually recommended to be replaced at long intervals, and is blissfully ignored by most owners (either due to lack of awareness or due to pure laziness). The regular A.S.S. are also very unenthusiastic in performing this critical preventive maintenance because:
1. In many cars, its a very cumbersome and sometimes labour intensive job.
2. By not replacing this part, the likelihood of engine failure shoots up, and they can earn more money from engine overhauls.
5) Fluid levels
Pic source: Randy's Tire and Auto Center
It's one of the simplest things you can do. Just keep a regular check on the brake fluid, coolant, engine oil fluid levels. For your own convenience all manufacturers label the min. and max. levels on the containers. I mean, it takes less than a minute to just pop up the hood and check up the levels.
If the engine oil is less, you kill the engine.
If the brake fluid level is less, you kill the others in your car
If the levels are falling, then your engine / system has a leak somewhere.
Replace and top up as advised by the manual.
6) Fuel lines
Pic source: Welcome! | NeonSquirt - Home of the UnaClocker
Although not much of an issue in today's modern gen cars, I will still advise you to inspect these by a local mechanic at regular intervals. The phobia is mainly due to some earlier generation cars whose design flaws made them more susceptible to these lines becoming leaky and well..car catching fire!
Another reason for a regular inspection: most fuel lines are made of rubber, and rubber being rubber will have problems over time.
Pic source: Queeky - draw online!
Just keep a check whether all your lights are functioning or not. I have once had a near miss when I misjudged a single headlight for a motor-cycle; it turned out to be a car! That one bulb on the brake lamp not working? Replace it! It will cost you less than 50 bucks and save not only your life but also the life of people following you.
Pic source: Car illustration cutaways and ghosted automotive art
In this section, everything you need to look out of the vehicle is included. Wipers, windshield, ORVM's, rear view mirrors. Replace your wipers at regular intervals, keep your windshield free from scratches and make sure you keep those ORVM's clean. Clean your windows if you cannot see through them.
Pic source: powersmashrepairs.com.au
This is a silent killer. You won't even know when it will become a big issue. Today's cars come with rust protection from factory for an average of 7 years. Some of the cars (especially earlier mahindra's and tata's) faced this issue. The thing is, even if your drivetrain components are rock solid reliable, they'll be useless if they just fall through. Another problem with rust is, if and when you meet with an accident, your body panels are much weaker and there is possibility that you may have to absorb more of the impact directly.
If you see even a hint of rust on your car, have it attended to in priority.
Pic source: Car Questions Answered for Free by Professional Mechanics, Repair Information and Manuals - 2CarPros
My knowledge is limited to rack and pinion design only. Quoting from wiki directly:steering wheel turns the pinion gear; the pinion moves the rack, which is a linear gear that meshes with the pinion, converting circular motion into linear motion along the transverse axis of the car (side to side motion). This motion applies steering torque to the swivel pin ball joints that replaced previously used kingpins of the stub axle of the steered wheels via tie rods and a short lever arm called the steering arm.
Of course, every part should be visually inspected, but give a special preference to tie rod ends.
These are the things that I can think of which are downright dangerous to ignore. Please add any other points which you think that can be downright dangerous if ignored.
Please don't add things like battery check, struts check etc. These things, although not good, will not cause a dangerous situation.
1. Ball joint - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
3. Steering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia