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Automobile Maintenance

Dangerous at Any Speed: Which Car Issues Should You Never Ignore

In the grand scheme of things, the windshield wipers on your car might not seem all that important compared to other auto parts. But ignoring the fact that your vehicle needs new wiper blades could make driving your car dangerous at any speed.

Just imagine what might happen if you get stuck in the middle of a torrential downpour when you’re driving down the highway. You could end up putting both yourself and other drivers at risk simply because you chose not to pay $10 or $20 to replace your windshield wipers.

There are lots of different car issues that people choose to ignore for one reason or another. In some cases, the issues won’t have much of an effect on them or their cars. But in others, the issues can make driving dangerous at any speed.

Here are 8 car issues that you should not ignore under any circumstances.

Worn-Out Tires

You could argue that the tires on a car are the most important parts on it. If they’re not in great condition, there are all sorts of problems that can pop up. The potential for a tire blowout can make your car dangerous at any speed.

Yet, there are many people who will ignore the condition of their tires and continue driving around with them until they’re pretty much bald. You should not drive with tires that don’t have any tread left in them. You should also steer clear of driving cars with low tire pressure.

The problem is that it can be difficult to decide when to replace tires since there are so many different kinds of them. Here’s a basic breakdown of when to replace tires based on the type of tires you have on your car:

  • All-season tires: Anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 miles
  • Performance all-season tires: Anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 miles
  • All-terrain tires: About every 40,000 miles
  • Eco tires: Anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 miles
  • Run-flat tires: About every 20,000 miles

Keep a close eye on your tires and consider replacing them if they show signs of wear and tear. Driving around with old tires on your car is never a good idea.

Bad Brakes

Do you have to mash down on your brake pedal these days to bring your car to a complete stop? Or have you noticed that your brakes are making a lot of noise when you use them?

These are just two of the signs that you might have bad brakes on your car that will need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Doing something as simple as putting new brake pads on your car will make a world of a difference when you tap your brake pedal.

At the first sign of trouble with your brakes, have a mechanic look at them. Even if you don’t drive your car very fast when you’re behind the wheel, bad brakes can make it dangerous at any speed.

Low Fluid Levels

There are a bunch of different fluids in your car that keep it up and running. Without these fluids, various parts in your car wouldn’t be able to do their jobs.

Some of the most important car fluids include:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Engine coolant

Most people are well aware of how important it is to change their oil on a regular basis. But they aren’t always 100 percent sure how often they need to worry about replacing, say, their transmission fluid.

If you have a manual transmission, it’s important to change your transmission fluid once every 30,000 to 60,000 miles based on your auto manufacturer’s suggestions. If you have an automatic, you might be able to get away with doing it a lot less often than that.

It’s your job to stay on top of the different fluids in your car and make sure they’re replaced accordingly. Otherwise, the parts in your car can struggle to keep up and cause further issues for you down the line.

Suspect Steering

Are you having a hard time getting your car to turn in the direction you want it to go when you’re driving? This is obviously a bad problem to have when you’re sitting behind the wheel!

There are several things that can cause you to find yourself in this situation. You may not have enough power steering fluid in your car, which can make it tough to steer. You may also have a problem with the connection between your steering wheel and your car’s front tires.

At any rate, you shouldn’t keep using a vehicle if it’s not easy to steer. Whether you’re going 10 miles per hour or 80 miles per hour, your car will be dangerous at any speed when your steering is off.

Broken-Down Ball Joints

Think about how hard it would be for you to walk around normally if you were experiencing a problem with your hip joint. You would want to visit a doctor right away to get your hip checked out, right?

The ball joints in your car are a lot like your hip joints. They feature a ball-and-socket design and are used to connect your car’s control arms to your car’s steering knuckles. But they can break down over time and affect the way your car drives.

When your car’s ball joints have gone bad, you may feel your steering wheel vibrate when you’re driving. You may also notice that your car drifts to one side of the road or the other. You may even see that your tires are wearing out unevenly.

Whatever the case, don’t dismiss problems with your ball joints. They’re vital parts that can make your vehicle dangerous if you put off replacing them for too long.

Faulty Fuel Lines

Your car has fuel lines running throughout it that keep it moving. But over the years, those fuel lines can begin to break down and cause issues with your car.

Some of the most common signs of faulty fuel lines are:

  • Fuel leaking underneath your car
  • A strong gas smell when you turn your car on
  • Decreased power when you’re driving your car
  • Frequent engine stalls
  • A flooded carburetor

Any car issues that have anything to do with your fuel should not be ignored for a single second. You could start a fire if you don’t have fuel lines fixed.

Outdated Timing Belt

Do you hear a ticking sound coming from your engine when you start your car? Listen to what your car is trying to tell you!

A ticking sound is usually an indication of a problem with a car’s timing belt. Today’s timing belts can last for up to 100,000 miles in some cases. But it’s important for car owners to stay on top of them and replace them before they give out.

If you don’t replace a timing belt, it will eventually snap on you. When it does, it could bend the pistons in your engine and cause irreparable damage to the engine.

When a timing belt breaks, it can be dangerous at any speed. But it can be especially dangerous when it happens at a very high rate at speed. Don’t put yourself into a position where you could end up behind the wheel when a timing belt goes bad.

Rusty Body

If you have a tiny bit of rust on the outside of your car, you might not be too worried about it. As long as the rust stays in one small spot, it’s not big deal, right?

Wrong. The rust on the outside of a car can and will start to spread before long. Within just a few years, a small bit of rust can turn into a whole bunch of rust and compromise an entire car.

Rust can take a toll on the general appearance of your car. You’re not going to impress too many people when you’re driving a rusty car on a regular basis.

But rust can also make a car dangerous at any speed. If you’re ever involved in an accident with a rusty car, the outside panels on it won’t be able to protect you as effectively as they would be able to otherwise.

Have the rust on your car inspected by a body shop that can do something about it. Or sell your junk car if the rust is out of control and replace it with something safer.

These Issues Can Make Your Car Dangerous at Any Speed

The average car has about 30,000 parts inside of it. Many of those parts will last for hundreds of thousands of miles.

But many of them will also break down on you over the years and need to be either repaired or replaced. Ignoring faulty parts will only make your car problems worse while also making your car dangerous at any speed.

Would you like to learn how to repair many of the issues listed here on your own? Check out our blog to get more information on making all kinds of car repairs.