Cars are made from durable parts that are meant to last. But you can’t take your vehicle’s condition for granted. Every car, truck, SUV, and other needs routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly, which helps reduce your risk of getting into a car accident. Additionally, certain parts need to be replaced more often than most others, so don’t be too shocked if your mechanic suggests replacing one of those parts during your next annual or biannual maintenance service.
Check Your Tires
To begin, we should focus on your car’s tires. While tires don’t need to be replaced often, they do need to be replaced quickly once there is a problem with them. Out of all the auto parts that can cause an accident, tires might be the most likely of the bunch because if they burst, shred, or fall off while you’re driving, it is practically guaranteed that you will lose control of your vehicle.
Five common tire issues to look out for are:
- Balding: One of the most common issues with tires is also one that gets ignored the most: balding treads. As a tire is used more and more, the rubber wears away more and more. The end result is that the treads start to disappear, and the once-textured tire looks smooth or bald. A bald tire cannot grip the road correctly and will greatly increase the risk of a crash or spinout. If your tire is balding or close to it, then you should head to a tire shop for an inspection and possible replacements right away.
- Uneven treads: Bald spots on tires can appear inconsistently, too. You might notice that there are uneven patches around a tire where the treads are worn more than others. This unusual pattern can happen if you drive erratically or, oppositely, have a very specific route that you drive each day.
- Vibrations: Have you ever noticed a strange vibrating or drumming sound when you are driving, especially when at highway speeds? It could be an issue with one or more of your car’s tires. If the tire is damaged or seated incorrectly on the hub, then it can cause this vibration. In a worst-case scenario, the tire defect could make you suddenly veer to the left or right and cause a crash.
- Squeaks: Squeaking or squealing tires when you take turns can be a sign of one or more issues. If you’re lucky, it just means that your tire was underinflated and needs some air. If not, then it might be that the tire is experiencing thread-related issues, or there is a misalignment.
- Holes: Of course, don’t forget about the age-old tire problem of holes and punctures. If you drive over a piece of metal, glass, ceramic, and so on, it can embed in the tire. Once you notice a foreign object piercing a tire, don’t ignore it. Get the tire patched or replaced right away.
Five Other Auto Parts That Might Need Replaced
Your tires need to be inspected and replaced if they have an issue, and that should be done without delay. But there are other auto parts that need routine maintenance and replacement yet do not usually create an imminent car accident risk.
Five auto parts that might need replaced when you go to the mechanic are:
- Filters: Within your car, there are probably at least five types of filters for air and fluids, like air filters and oil filters. Like any machine or product with a filter in it, the filters of your car are usually the first pieces that require replacement because they can fill up with gunk and debris quicker than you think.
- Battery: Your car battery should last you several years if you remember to shut off your car and its headlights whenever it is not in use. But even the best battery will eventually need to be replaced and can randomly fail. If your mechanic says your battery is going out, it is probably worth having it swapped with a new one then to reduce your chances of suddenly coasting with no power when you least expect it.
- Timing belt: The timing belt or cambelt in most cars is a crucial component that keeps the crankshaft and camshaft rotating in the proper synchronization, which then makes the engine’s valves open and close correctly. This rubber belt can get worn down fairly quickly, though, so ask your mechanic to check on its condition with each service.
- Brake pads: As a general rule, you shouldn’t hear noise when you apply the brakes. If you hear a screech or notice it is taking you longer to come to a full stop, then your brake pads are probably wearing out and need to be replaced. The brake pad squeezes the inner wheel to make it stop, so it has a big job and shouldn’t be taken lightly when it needs attention.
- Sparkplugs: How does an internal combustion engine spring to life? A little spark! The sparkplug is in charge of making a spark that starts up your engine’s power. Natural corrosion will start to affect any sparkplug, though, so it is an auto part that often needs replacement.