People buy new cars for a reason. Peace of mind comes with knowing every part is new, every system should work for a long time before it needs repair.
Yet with car prices climbing, we’re holding onto our cars more than ever before. The average age of a car in the US is now up to 12.2 years.
As your car ages, it will require maintenance to keep it in good working condition. Are you making any of these car maintenance mistakes?
Maintenance Mistake #1: Skipping car fluid inspections
As a driver, changing the motor oil frequently is pounded into you. We have specialty stores dedicated to changing motor oil. We get that.
Yet a car needs more than motor oil to thrive.
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
There’s a list of fluids vital for the proper functioning of a vehicle.
Ignoring fluid levels can lead to problems such as engine damage, overheating, and brake failure. The best place to start is by checking your owner’s manual and following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Have your car’s fluids checked and replaced at the recommended intervals.
Maintenance Mistake #2: Neglecting the air filter
The air filter plays a crucial role in keeping the engine clean by filtering out dirt, debris, and other contaminants. Over time, the air filter gets clogged, reducing airflow and compromising engine performance. Neglecting to replace the air filter can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and increased engine wear.
The air filter should be inspected and replaced regularly. Finding a trusted mechanic to bring your vehicle into regularly will help ensure the air filter is changed out per the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. It will help maintain optimal engine performance.
Maintenance Mistake #3: Forgetting the brake pads
The most common component in your brake system is the brake pads. Brake pads are a critical safety component in any vehicle. However, many car owners overlook the importance of regular brake pad inspections and replacements.
Worn-out brake pads can compromise your ability to stop quickly, increasing the risk of accidents. It’s crucial to monitor the thickness of your brake pads and replace them when they reach the minimum suggested guidelines recommended by the manufacturer.
Maintenance Mistake #4: Driving with a check engine light on
What’s blinking on your dashboard? The check engine light is one of the most common to stay lit after starting the car. It’s also the most commonly ignored.
The check engine light serves as a warning sign that something is amiss with your vehicle’s engine or emissions system. Unfortunately, many car owners ignore this warning and continue driving.
Whenever the check engine light illuminates, it’s advisable to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to diagnose and address the underlying issue.
Maintenance Mistake #5: Overlooking tire inspections
Have you ever noticed the pilot in action when you board a flight? When he arrives at his plane, he’ll spend a few minutes walking around, verifying the different systems.
Follow these guidelines yourself and perform inspections on your vehicle from time to time. Tires are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road, making them crucial for safety and performance. Neglecting tire inspections can lead to uneven wear, reduced traction, and increased risk of blowouts.
Do a visual check. Check your tire pressure, tread depth, and overall condition. Ensure that the tires are properly aligned and rotated as recommended by the manufacturer to maximize their lifespan and maintain optimal handling.
Maintenance Mistake #6: Forgetting to replace windshield wipers
Colorado weather can be unpredictable at best. Have you ever turned the windshield wipers on, only to find they don’t work? You might be low on washer fluid, or the rubber is so old it streaks across the windshield.
Proper visibility is essential for safe driving, especially during adverse weather conditions. Unfortunately, many car owners forget to replace their windshield wipers regularly.
Worn-out wiper blades can leave streaks, impairing visibility and compromising your safety on the road. Inspect your wiper blades periodically and replace them if they show signs of wear or deterioration.
Maintenance Mistake #7: Ignoring noises or smells
What’s that sound? What’s that smell? Unusual noises or smells coming from your vehicle should never be ignored.
They often indicate underlying problems that require attention. Whether it’s a squealing sound from the brakes or a burning odor from the engine, ignoring these warning signs can lead to significant damage and costly repairs. If you notice any unusual noises or smells, consult a qualified mechanic to diagnose and resolve the issue promptly.
Maintenance Mistake #8: Ignoring lit up dashboard icons
Modern vehicles are equipped with numerous dashboard icons that serve as warning indicators for various systems and components. However, many car owners tend to ignore these icons or simply cover them up.
Each dashboard icon represents a specific issue that requires attention. Ignoring these warnings can result in severe damage to your vehicle or compromise your safety.
Familiarize yourself with the meanings of these icons and address any illuminated warning promptly.
Maintenance Mistake #9: DIY car repairs without sufficient knowledge
In the age of online tutorials and DIY culture, it can be tempting to attempt car repairs without proper knowledge or experience. However, DIY repairs without sufficient understanding can lead to more significant problems and even pose a safety risk.
Knowing your limits and seeking professional help for complex repairs is crucial. A qualified mechanic has the expertise and tools to diagnose and fix issues correctly, ensuring your vehicle’s reliability and safety.
Maintenance Mistake #10: Taking the smallest telltale signs for granted
Sometimes, it’s the smallest signs that can indicate more significant issues with your vehicle. A small leak, a minor vibration, or a subtle change in performance may be early indicators of a more substantial problem.
If you ignore these seemingly insignificant signs, it can result in costly repairs down the line.
Pay attention to even the slightest changes in your vehicle’s behavior and have them inspected promptly.
Are you making these car maintenance mistakes?
If you’ve seen yourself in any of these scenarios, it’s not too late to turn things around.
Maintaining a car involves more than just filling up the tank and washing it regularly. By avoiding the common car maintenance mistakes mentioned above, you can prolong your vehicle’s lifespan, enhance safety on the road, and potentially save money on repairs.
A well-maintained car performs better and provides peace of mind for a worry-free driving experience.
Enjoy the drive!