If your car is like most cars, it has problems, it occasionally breaks down, and it sometimes needs repairs. It can be really expensive to maintain a car, and it is understandable that it may be tempting to just skip out on maintenance once in a while. It can't be that bad to ignore the engine light once or twice, right? You would save so much money on auto repair, right? Actually, in almost all cases, you would be very wrong. Like a person who gets ill, a car will give warning signs when it isn't feeling well. Unlike a person, however, most cars do not get better on their own. It usually takes a skilled mechanic to understand the ins and outs of car repair, just like it takes a doctor to understand, diagnose, and treat a human problem.
First of all, if any light or alarm goes off in your car, it is your car trying to tell you that something is wrong. This is usually not something you can simply take for granted, as repairs are often complicated and urgent. A lot of the time a problem that goes unsolved can create bigger and greater problems, sometimes making the repairs impossible to pay for or simply impossible to perform. It is important to take your car in to see a mechanic as soon as you think that something is wrong. Usually this will keep the problem small and the repairs cheap.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that some mechanical problems may never actually set off a light or alarm. You might not be aware of a problem until your car begins to show other "symptoms," such as noises or smoke, for example. By then the problem may have already escalated. This is exactly why it is important to not only watch for "symptoms," but to regularly take your car to a mechanic for a "checkup" and minor repairs.
By finding and taking care of problems and simple repairs early and quickly, you are actually quite likely to extend the lifetime of your car. While it is simple enough pay for a repair here and repair there, paying for a huge repair could essentially spell the death of your vehicle, as it could either be more than you are willing to pay, or it may simply cost less to just buy a new car instead. That aside, keeping your car in good repair is a good way to make sure that it keeps running for longer. Big repairs can be harder on your car than simple ones, and your car will simply run better if it's well-kept. Be careful with your car and be sure to keep in mind that paying a little here and a little there, and listening to your car when lights and alarms go off, could save you a lot more in the long run.