Today’s cars are so complicated and the engine compartments are so buttoned-up that roadside repairs are essentially a thing of the past.
The best advice I can give is to make sure you have two essential tools on hand when going for a drive—your cell phone and its charger. Use the phone to call AAA or whatever roadside-assistance program you’re subscribed to. The days of fixing a car yourself are long gone, but that cell phone is the difference between hitching a ride to the nearest gas station or mechanic’s shop or simply waiting for help to arrive.
And if your car is costing more for repairs on a monthly basis than the monthly payment on a new car would be or if it’s spending more time in the repair shop than in your garage, you might want to consider a new car.
For some people, this might be an emotionally charged (or leased) decision, but I say don’t fight it.
John Dinkel is an auto engineer, lifelong racer, and a columnist for Men’s Fitness. Follow him on Twitter.