So, why are so many cars failing on the road these days? The answer is simple: failure to maintain basic safety features that could save lives. Here are some of the most common car problems, as identified by Consumer Reports, which can be instrumental in avoiding potential safety hazards. Failure to maintain airbags and seat belts can lead to sudden and unexpected death; an airbag warning light could prove life saving if it's deployed during a rollover; and having a reliable seat belt can mean the difference between life and death if your vehicle is involved in an accident.

One of the most common car problems is a lack of power from the engine. This most often happens when the driver isn't checking the fuel level or has left it out too long. Other causes can include problems with the transmission, power steering, clutch fluid, exhaust system, exhaust pipes, battery and more. If you are experiencing symptoms like a whining or rumbling engine that seems to have no apparent source, you should consider changing the oil or taking a break from driving until you feel the problems subside. In the meantime, Consumer Reports suggests steps you can take to ensure your car doesn't experience further breakdowns:

Another warning light you should watch out for is the one that says "oxide sensor" on your dashboard. Sometimes this sensor will release poisonous gases if something in your vehicle gets too hot, such as the brakes. It's recommended that you park your car indoors instead of leaving it outside for extended periods of time. Be prepared to spend a little time cleaning up the gas fumes if you do leave them unattended; Consumer Reports says that it should take about 20 minutes before the fumes are completely out of your system.

What are the most common warning lights for your brakes? Unfortunately, there aren't any standard warning lights for brake problems; rather, your car manual will advise you how to check for this. Watch out for fluid leaking under the brake pads, which can indicate a problem with the brake fluid. If the brakes do not slow down properly when applied, then the brakes are probably worn out.

What are the most common warning lights for your engine? Again, your car manual will provide you with information on the warning lights you should watch out for. Watch for oil leaks under the hood, which could indicate a problem with the oil filter. If your engine starts to feel sluggish, or you notice an increase in engine speed, then you should consider replacing the oil. If you run into any of these problems, Consumer Reports says that they tend to occur after long periods of driving without a change, so be sure to plan on some time away from the car.

What are the most common car problems? Airbags and seat belts usually help, but there is also the potential for them to fail if you aren't careful. Watch out for a warning light that says something like "engaged vehicle" when the airbag has been deployed. The airbag's failure could signify a serious problem with the passenger airbag.

What are the most common warning lights for your transmission? Your transmission should fail soon after it is started; usually this means you need to check the fluid levels. If your vehicle has failed recently, Consumer Reports advises you to "Check the Battery." A failing transmission can mean there is a problem with the clutch, which can be fixed by replacing the entire transmission.

What are the most common car problems? Car manufacturers try to avoid having to answer that question because of the cost of repairs. Consider this analysis of whether you should get an extended car warranty: It costs a lot of money to repair a motor vehicle, and any downtime makes that task more difficult. Be sure to check your vehicle regularly so that you know what is going on, and when necessary, get it checked by a professional.