Driving here in Colorado is something most of us take for granted. While we have a public transportation system, to rely on it for everything you do, for all the places you go, in many cases, it just doesn’t make sense.
Could you use it to take the kids to school, run to the grocery store, pick up your dry cleaning, and go to your next meeting? Of course. But most of us don’t.
Instead, we choose to own an automobile, keep it tucked away in the garage, and pull it out each day as we need it. If it’s new, there might not be much to worry about. But as it ages, you might find yourself stressed about car repairs.
Will your vehicle be there when you need it?
Will it leave you stranded by the side of the road?
If this sounds all too familiar, you might be dreading the day when you hear an unusual sound, or something doesn’t feel quite right when you turn the key and pull out of your parking spot. The anxiety kicks in, and you start to think about all the possibilities.
What if something’s wrong?
Where stress from thinking about car repairs comes from
Driving itself has turned into a very stressful experience. Traffic has increased by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Add in road construction and obstacles along the way.
Driver tension? Yep, that’s at an all-time high too. Road rage is everywhere.
No wonder you feel stressed every time you sit behind the wheel.
Now add in a little worry about how well your vehicle is functioning. Will it get you where you’re going? Will that clunking noise turn into something more? And where are you going to find the money to pay for whatever the problem is?
You know this isn’t how to drive a car. The more stress you’re under, the more you miss. And that can leave you, your passengers, and those around you at risk.
Of course, knowing you’re stressed and pushing it aside are two different things. You can practice deep breathing whenever you feel yourself building tension. You can do a few stretches to relieve tension. And you can get to know your car a little better.
Get to know your car
How well do you know your car? Beyond sitting behind the wheel, knowing how to turn it on, and how to change radio stations, do you really know how your vehicle operates?
When was the last time you looked under the hood? Do you know how various systems work to keep you safe?
Once upon a time, kids learned a lot about how cars operate in school. You might have taken driver’s ed when you were turning sixteen, but how much did you learn about the car?
And if that was years ago, a lot has changed in recent years. Your car is no longer all about mechanics alone; there’s a lot of technology that helps your car operate.
While you don’t have to go back to school to learn how it all works, you can spend a little time getting familiar with your car. Take your owner’s manual out and flip through the pages. Pop the hood and take a look inside. Ask questions every time you bring your car in for a maintenance item. Do a little research before you schedule a repair. Even a basic understanding can help lower stress levels, and make you feel more in tune with how your car operates.
Thinking about it may prevent action
We’re busier now than ever. You have places to go, people to see, things to do. You don’t have time for a problem with your car.
When you hear a strange noise, that can start your mind whirling about how you may soon be juggling schedules to fit everything in. You just can’t handle a car repair right now. Ignoring it might solve the problem. Yet in your heart, you know it won’t.
Or maybe you’ve had a bad experience in the past. You’ve taken your car into a repair shop, and on a scale of one to ten, you’d give it a minus ten. You were taken advantage of, and even worse, it didn’t fix the problem. Who would want to experience that again? It’s better to ignore the problem.
Then there are the stories you read online. Maybe it’s an investigative piece about the auto industry. Or about unscrupulous behavior in a segment on a news show. Consumer beware!
Why should you bring your vehicle in when chances are you’ll only have problems coming out?
It’s time to focus on prevention
The problem with minor car issues is they quickly escalate to significant vehicle problems if you don’t take care of them when they’re small.
The average vehicle on the road has over 10,000 parts. They are all carefully connected and controlled to make your vehicle run efficiently. One part out of place, one small piece not doing its job will impact all other components in some way. Replace that one part, and your car will return to good working condition again.
That’s why routine maintenance is so important. Mechanics are trained to look for the little things. They can listen to the sounds a car makes, pop the hood and look underneath, or ask you a few questions to help pinpoint where the problem could be.
They can also run a complete diagnostic test to test the technology that makes your vehicle run. Today’s vehicles are complicated pieces of machinery. Today’s mechanics are trained in a variety of things to ensure they can get to the bottom of what’s wrong.
The oil change you schedule every 3,000 to 5,000 miles matters.
The tires you rotate on a regular basis.
The brake pads you replace at the first sign of wearing down.
All of that is about good maintenance on your vehicle. It’s what ensures it works well for you every time you climb behind the wheel.
There’s no reason to feel stressed about car repairs. Learn more about the process, and it can reduce your anxiety. Replace the little things frequently, and they won’t escalate to major repairs.
And more importantly, it will never leave you stranded on the side of the road.
Because your car will continue to be in its best condition for as long as you own your car.