What car repairs are optional vs needed?

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4 min read

No one wants to fork out hard-earned bucks for minor auto repairs. And with everyday living costs stacking up, you don’t need much excuse to delay a trip to the auto shop.

But is it OK to ignore the odd mechanical fault? Are all repairs really born equal…? Well, obviously if your car isn’t moving from the driveway then you’ll need to get that look at STAT, but if your AC has gone kaput and you live in Alaska it’s pretty easy to get by without breaking a sweat.

Sometimes the bill for a repair can be enough to make you want to sell your car and buy a new one (and that’s where Peddle can help). However, it’s important to evaluate the car value and determine which car issues you can hold out on, and the repairs that should not be pushed off. Let’s take a look.

optional repairs

Heater / AC

Which way you go with this depends on the climate. As we say, AC in Alaska is not a necessity, and a heater in Hawaii can probably go amiss. This one comes down to the comfort of you and your passengers.

Window defrosters

Same story as above—if you live in a cold state, or are staring down a long hard winter, then you’ll definitely want your window defroster in order.

Stereo / navigation

Long car rides sure are dull without the radio, but a broken stereo won’t stop you getting to your destination. A fault navigation system might, however, but if you’re confident with maps, or have Google maps on your phone then this does not need to be a priority fix.

Small windshield pits

These are not urgent, but the more wear and tear your windshield picks up the more likely you are to get larger cracks that will require urgent repair.

Dents and scratches

Cosmetic damage is not a big deal in the short term, but over time can lead to rust and more serious problems for your car.

Fender or body panel damage

The same can be said for fender and body panel damager (unless it impedes lights, signals or safety)


These help minimize damage, rust and erosion to your wheels, so are good to have on. But a period of time without them won’t do too much harm.

repairs you can’t ignore

Headlights, brake lights, or turn signals

It’s dangerous—and against the law—to drive without working lights, so make sure you get these checked before the cops pull you over.

Windshield wipers

Sure, you can drive without wipers, but if you hit bad weather then it will quickly become a safety risk.

Cracked windshields

Again, for safety reasons it's vital that you get a cracked windshield looked at quickly. If it’s a minor crack you still may be able to get it repaired without a total replacement, but if you leave it too long it will get bigger and pose a safety risk.

Transmission, fuel or coolant leaks

Some leaks are serious (and some less so), but it can be a sign of something seriously wrong with your engine. Best head to the garage and get it looked at.

Brake grinding

A grinding sound coming from your car could be down to a few things—worn out pads, or poor lubrication—but you don’t want to mess about on the road with dodgy brakes. A mechanic will offer the best diagnosis.

Suspension issues

Driving with worn out suspension can put you (and others, remember!) at risk on the road. At worst it can cause the car to lose control, or abruptly stop, and at the very least it can cause excess wear on your tires.

Tires out of tread

Talking of tires…if the tread is worn down you can lose grip on the road. Especially in bad weather you can run the risk of an accident. There’s a neat trick you can use to check if you need new tires—take a look.

Dash instrument panel issues

These keep you clued into the performance of your vehicle. Without it you could run out of gas in the middle of the highway, so yeah, this one’s pretty important to fix quickly too.

With any luck you’ll only ever deal with one or two issues on this list (hopefully none!) but if repair costs are causing you to fall out of love with your car then it might be time to sell up. Peddle will take your old car off your hands—flaws and all.