Automobile maintenance can be performed by a professional mechanic or you can do it yourself. However, no matter which method you choose, regular vehicle maintenance will keep your car from breaking down. This will save you both time and money in the long run.
Your car is probably one of the most expensive purchases that you will make. You would be well served by practicing due diligence when it comes to proper car maintenance. Here are some of the most common car maintenance mistakes people make and how to avoid them:
1. Neglecting the Air Filter
Your air filter isn’t a component that is properly maintained simply by cleaning it. Eventually, you have to replace your car filter. In fact, it should be replaced regularly. Dirt accumulates in the air filter and can cause your vehicle to choke.
2. Overlooking Worn Brake Pads and Tires
Having bad brakes is never something that should be overlooked. In most cases, unreplaced brake pads that are malfunctioning will lead to more severe problems, such as problems with the vehicle’s steering system. Essentially, failing to replace bad brake can lead to a higher chance of getting into an accident.
Most people don’t consider replacing worn tires until it’s too late. However, the last thing you’d want to happen is to experience blowout or a flat tire on the highway. Ensure that you have your tires rotated regularly and their air pressure is correct as stipulated by the manufacturer.
3. Ignoring the Check Engine Warning Light
While, in most cases, your vehicle will still function normally if the Check Engine indicator comes on, it is never a good idea to ignore this warning sign. When the light comes on, it’s giving you some advance notice that an issue requires your attention.
Ignoring it won’t make it go away and the longer it goes unaddressed, the more likely it is that the problem will be serious. Take your vehicle to a reputable mechanic who can perform a diagnostic test and tell you the exact issue.
4. Driving with An Overheated Engine
Engines overheat for various reasons. Continuously driving your vehicle when it overheats is one of the worst maintenance mistakes you can make. This is because an engine that overheats easily may be experiencing an issue in its cooling system. Other issues that can cause engines to overheat easily include: cooling system leaks; broken water pumps; clogged coolant hoses; and faulty radiator fans.
5. Learning Basic DIY Car Maintenance
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with checking your fluids, changing wiper blades and headlights, and other minor car maintenance. Some car owners even enjoy moderately difficult tasks such as changing oil, batteries, or tires. However, some things should be left to the professionals. The last thing you want to do is damage your car in an attempt to save a few dollars.
Being smart about DIY car maintenance involves familiarizing yourself with your car’s owner’s manual or researching information on how to maintain your specific model. You can also contact your local dealership to provide you with some recommendations on where to start.
Some things you can do on your own include:
Check Fluids Regularly:
It may seem inconsequential, but your vehicle’s performance can become compromised as a result of a failure to replenish the various fluids in your vehicle. For instance, each manufacturer provides their recommendation on how often you should invest in oil change services from a mechanic. Failure to change your engine oil after driving your vehicle for a certain number of miles can cause engine damage. Other fluids, like windshield washer fluid, are easy to make and refill at home.
Keep Maintenance on Schedule:
To get the most life out of your car and to make every day driving less stressful, consistent maintenance is key. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance schedules.
Check Your Wiper Blades Often:
Sometimes, we have a habit of taking the smallest things for granted but having windshield wiper blades that are in good condition is essential for visibility and safety. Generally, you should have your wipers inspected and/or changed at every oil change, but depending on your specific driving conditions, you may need to change them more often.
Consistency Is Key
The two primary things to remember about car maintenance are that you need to become aware of the kind of maintenance procedures you should be performing, and you need to establish some consistent routine. This will ensure that your vehicle lasts for many years.