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When Your Car Sends You Warning Signs, Ignoring Them Could Be Costly

December 31, 2015

When your car talks do you listen?

How long have you been ignoring that warning light on your dashboard, or the noise coming from your brakes? Have you been putting off your oil change? Overlooking these things could end up being costly.

Now that it’s officially winter, it’s time to ensure your car is in top working order if you haven’t already. Winter magnifies existing problems, so you should address any issues before it’s too late.

Brake system warning and/or noisy brakes: A low brake fluid level or worn down brake pads could be the issue, but it could also be something more serious. If you’re not maintaining your brakes, you could be looking at replacing the entire brake system, costing on average about $700. However, if you address it early enough, it could be a matter of simply replacing the brake pads for half that cost.

Insurance implications: If you get into a collision due to your brakes (let’s say you rear-end someone because you weren’t able to stop quick enough), you will likely be at fault. An at fault collision could potentially add about 30 per cent to your car insurance premiums.

Windshield wipers and washer fluid: Windshield wipers should be replaced every six months. It might not seem like a big deal, but neglecting them could affect your visibility in bad weather. Same goes for letting your washer fluid run low or dry; not being able to see clearly is extremely dangerous.

Insurance implications: You could be found at fault if you cause an accident because you couldn’t see through your windows clearly. This can result in an insurance increase of about 30 per cent. You could also end up with an “obstructed view” ticket, increasing your premiums by another 5 per cent. It could be even higher if this is not your only ticket.

  • Winter driving tip: Clear the snow off your car, windows and mirrors before you head out, or risk a ticket. In Ontario, for example, section 74 of the Highway Traffic Act is pretty clear: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon a highway, (a) unless the windshield and the windows on either side of the compartment containing the steering wheel are in such a condition as to afford the driver a clear view to the front and side of the motor vehicle; and (b) unless the rear window is in such a condition as to afford the driver a clear view to the rear of the motor vehicle.”

Oil pressure warning and regular oil changes: Probably one of most ignored lights on your dashboard. If you put off your oil change for far too long, or if there’s a leak and you’re running low, your engine can seize up and grind to a halt, requiring an extensive and costly repair.

Insurance implications: If your car suddenly halts, causing the driver behind to rear-end you, the person who hits from behind is usually deemed at fault. Why risk it? Some simple, and preventative maintenance can go a long way and help you stay safe on the road.

Upkeep your car and your car insurance

Proper upkeep of your car ultimately keeps you and other drivers safe while saving you money as well. And, if saving money sounds like a good idea, why not compare car insurance rates while you’re at it? On average, InsuranceHotline.com shoppers save up to $700 after shopping their car insurance rates.