Can It Wait? A Guide To Critical Car Repairs

Maintaining a car isn't always cheap. There's a sense of pride and satisfaction that comes from knowing that your daily driver is perfectly well-sorted and needs nothing, but reality often gets in the way of that ideal. When faced with an apparent problem, it can be tempting to delay repairs until you're in a better financial position to deal with it. This can sometimes make sense, but delaying repairs can often mean that you have to spend more money in the future. While some repairs can be deferred, this guide will help you to determine if automotive repair services need to be obtained right away.

Low Oil Pressure Warnings

Your vehicle's low oil pressure warning should be treated as its last, dying plea for help. When this light comes on, it means your oil level is so low that it can no longer properly circulate through the engine. Without oil for lubrication, your engine will very quickly suffer serious internal damage. A low oil pressure warning can easily be the result of a simple problem like a leak that has been ignored for too long, but the results of ignoring it can be catastrophic. If you see this light, shut your car off immediately and have it towed to a shop.

Braking Problems

Even if you stay on top of regular brake pad and rotor changes, your car's braking system can still occasionally fail and need repairs. If you're lucky, your car will give you a few warning signs that trouble is brewing before you find yourself in real trouble. In particular, pay attention if your brake pedal feels spongy or if it suddenly feels much heavier than normal. Also be aware of unusual sounds, such as grinding, that occur whenever you press on the brakes. If you notice any of these problems, schedule an appointment to have your car checked as soon as possible.

Bad O2 Sensors

It's common to be told that a bad O2 sensor can be ignored, but these little guys actually play a critical role, in your vehicle's engine management. Without them, your car's computer cannot properly manage the air to fuel ratio, which will result in an engine which is running well below peak efficiency. This can also result in extra gasoline being added to the combustion chamber and that unburnt gasoline can foul your catalytic converters, leading to a much more expensive repair, in the future.


Modern car engines can be surprisingly fragile when exposed to too much heat. As with oil leaks, an engine may overheat due to a relatively minor problem, but the damage caused can be extensive. If your car is overheating, it is important to immediately shut it off and pull to the side of the road. If you are close to home, it may be possible to allow the car to cool and limp it the rest of the way, but a car that is running above its operating temperature should not be driven. Instead, contact a mechanic to find the source of the trouble as soon as possible, to avoid an eye-watering repair bill.