I now have two teenagers who are beginning to drive and have purchased their own car. I have been described as “mechanically declined” and must find a trusted mechanic to work on my vehicles. I cannot teach my kids how to personally maintain their cars, but I can guide them on when to call a mechanic.
The check engine light
My daughter’s friend offered me a ride the other day after helping her out. When I got into the car I noticed that there was piece of duct tape sitting on the control panel and when I asked her why there was this one small square piece of tape the response was, “The check engine light won’t turn off and it annoys me, so I put this tape on so I don’t have to see it.”
This classic ostrich-in-the-sand thought of if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist, can have long-term and costly effects. This light normally goes on for specific reasons. When this light is on in your car, it is time to find a trusted mechanic. This light is a warning that there is something wrong with your vehicle and you need to have it looked at – right away.
A vehicle has many types of fluids in it aside from the fuel used to power the car. Fluids should stay in the vehicle and not be leaking on the ground. When I was younger, I purchased a car and the price should have been an indicator that it was not the best financial purchase. However, I bought it anyway because it was cheap. Over time my driveway began to look like a painting with many different colours of fluids that were leaking out of my car; the black from oil, red from the transmission fluid, brown from the power steering, yellow from the brakes and green from the coolant. Although the design may have been able to win an abstract art show, it is not a good sign for a vehicle. When there is any fluid leaking from your vehicle, it is time to look for a trusted mechanic.
Brakes are squealing or worse
Having teens means many YouTube videos are played in the house. I sat and watched one the other day about car failures (every dad’s worst nightmare with teenagers). In this episode someone had brought their car to the mechanic shop saying that after fixing the brakes there were strange sounds and their car did not stop well. The mechanic took the tire off and the braking system was just hanging there as someone had forgotten to re-attach the brakes to the car. The brakes need to be maintained on a regular basis by a trusted mechanic. If you are driving and the squealing of the brakes drowns out the music on the radio or you cannot stop, then get your car to a trusted mechanic immediately.