Costly Car Mistakes

With money tight, you may be ignoring that strange noise under your hood. Consumer Reports warns-that could be a costly mistake!

Domenic DiSiena has seen a lot of car repairs that could have been avoided in his 35 years working as a mechanic.

One example occurred with a Volkswagon Beetle. "The young lady was driving the car with a check-engine light on for approximately a week. Now, if she would have had the check-engine light diagnosed, it would have told her it's coolant." said DiSiena.

Instead the car overheated and the motor blew. It will cost that woman $3000-$4000 in repairs.

Consumer Reports has spoken to automotive mechanics across the country who've told equally scary and costly stories.

"Routine maintenance and early fixes when something starts to go wrong can save you plenty," said Consumer Reports Jon Linkov.

Exhibit A: A transmission rebuild. It can cost you about $3,000.

"If your transmission fluid is too low, it's probably because of a leak. If you do have to add fluid, don't overfill. That will make it worse," said Linkov.

Exhibit B: And engine replacement. It can cost your $3,000-$6000.

"To prevent this, check your oil level once per month. And remember to change your oil and the timing belt according to the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual," said Linkov.

Exhibit C: A new catalytic converter. It can cost $900.

According to Linkov, "A catalytic converter can become overtaxed if your engine isn't tuned and starts to malfunction. So don't ignore that check-engine light when it comes on. And make sure you get regular tune-ups."

The bottom line, catching car trouble early will spare you expensive repair bills down the road.

You can refer to your owner's manual to see when you should take your car in for maintenance including everything from oil changes and tire rotations to tune-ups.

It can help to put reminders on your calendar to schedule an appointment at your garage.

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