13 Auto Repair Nightmares


Steer clear of these scary scenarios to stay safe on the road all season long.

It’s the season of falling leaves, pumpkin everything, and of course, scary stories! Sure, getting spooked can be fun this time of year, but when the fright involves your vehicle, it can feel like you’re living out your worst nightmare. While any vehicle can be susceptible to problems, taking a proactive approach to auto repair and maintenance can help you bypass some common issues. 

Avoid the following auto repair nightmares to stay safe on the road this fall and well into the future.

1) Choosing the cheapest repair shop on the block

old car parked in front of cheap repair shop

Everyone wants to save money on car repairs but taking your vehicle to the nearest discount repair shop won’t do your bank account any favors. You’re more likely to get the best bang for your buck by choosing a reputable specialist that uses certified technicians and backs your service by a nationwide lifetime warranty.  

2) Repairing your windshield yourself

person repairing a windshield

In the age of YouTube how-to videos, you may think that you could repair a small windshield chip on your own. However, you should err on the side of caution when it comes to DIY auto glass repair kits – unless you want to make the problem worse. The scary thing is that these kits won’t fully repair your windshield if the resin isn’t strong enough (it rarely is). That tiny chip you thought was repaired could spread and eventually crack or shatter while you’re driving. The good news is that certified windshield repair technicians have the experience, knowledge, tools and materials to fix your glass right the first time. 

3) Driving with dirty oil 

person adding oil to engine

Dirty engine oil can be a nightmare for your vehicle and your wallet if you go too long without changing it. Not only does an adequate amount of clean oil keep your engine lubricated and improve gas mileage, it can also boost vehicle longevity and prevent your engine from overheating or catching on fire.

4) Failing to check brake, transmission, and other fluids

person checking vehicle fluids

Think engine oil is the only fluid you need to check or change? While clean oil is essential to auto maintenance, you should also be checking and changing your transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and engine coolant to ensure that every part of your vehicle functions properly. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of brake, transmission, power steering, or complete engine failure. 

5) Brushing off regular maintenance and inspections

mechanic with vehicle maintenance list

Costly repairs can be terrifying for vehicle owners. Ward off scary repair bills by simply following your vehicle’s maintenance and inspection schedule. Not only can routine maintenance save you thousands of dollars in the long run, it may also save you the headache of having to finance another vehicle much sooner than you’d hoped. 

6) Skipping recalibration after a windshield replacement 

testing vehicle forward collision warning camera

Many newer vehicles contain windshield-mounted cameras that operate advanced safety features like forward-collision warning and automatic braking. If your windshield has one of these cameras, it will need to be recalibrated after a windshield replacement so you can stay safe. Safelite® makes it easy for you by offering all-in-one windshield replacement and recalibration service. 

7) Ignoring a recall 

vehicle tires in traffic

If you’ve ever ignored a vehicle recall, you’re (scarily) not alone. In fact, 30 percent of vehicle recalls go unrepaired. While some vehicle owners are unaware of vehicle recalls, others just don’t think recalls are important enough to address. Unfortunately, ignoring recall notices can put you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk. Always act on a recall right away to prevent accidents caused by mechanical defects. 

8) Turning a blind eye to dashboard warning lights

dashboard warning lights

While some dashboard warning lights aren’t urgent, many exist to warn you about potentially dangerous situations. Don’t ignore battery, brake, airbag, coolant, oil, or check engine lights or you could become stranded on the side of the road or slapped with a high repair bill.

9) Not changing your air filter  

mechanic placing new air filter in car

What could be scarier than seeing a ghost, you say? Invisible particles infiltrating your engine, that’s what! If you don’t change your air filter regularly, small pieces of dirt, dust, and other debris can enter your engine resulting in expensive repairs. Even scarier? Dirty air filters increase exhaust emissions that pollute the environment and the air we breathe.

10) Neglecting your tires 

mechanic changing a tire

Your vehicle’s tires are subjected to wear and tear every time you get behind the wheel. Stay on top of tire rotation, air pressure checks, and wheel alignment service to prevent uneven treadwear, strain on your steering and suspension parts, and of course, flat tires.

11) Using the wrong glass cleaner

person cleaning car windshield

Cleaning dirt and debris from your vehicle glass can help you see clearly while driving, but the home glass cleaner you’re using may be doing more harm than good. The ammonia found in home glass cleaners is strong enough to dissolve heating elements found on your vehicle glass (think those thin red wires used for defrosting). Plus, regular glass cleaners can leave a film behind or cause streaks, making it harder to see through your glass. Don’t let an accident happen because you used the wrong glass cleaner!  Always use professional-grade vehicle glass cleaner to keep heating elements intact and your window glass clear. 

12) Forgoing brake inspections

mechanic inspecting brakes

Brake inspections are arguably the most important part of auto maintenance. If your brakes aren’t at their best, you run the risk of getting into an accident that could have easily been prevented. The priciest part of brake replacements are the rotors, but new brake pads can keep rotors from wearing down prematurely. Keep your brakes working properly and save money by replacing your brake pads on a regular basis. 

13) Forgetting to replace your wiper blades

windshield wipers clearing away rain from windshield

Did you know that old wiper blades can damage your windshield? When wipers get too old, they can lose their rubber edges and cause unsightly scratches on your glass. If that isn’t enough to scare you, be warned that using old blades during rainy or snowy weather can cause streaks and decrease visibility making it dangerous to drive. Equip your vehicle with an advanced set of windshield wiper blades to protect your glass and stay safe on the road. 

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