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Top 10 Car Maintenance Mistakes

Friday, March 2, 2012
Image courtesy of Flickr
Taking good care of a vehicle is important to keeping it in good running order. Here are ten of the most common car maintenance mistakes vehicle owners make. 

1. Avoiding going to the Mechanic

Many drivers avoid taking their vehicles to the mechanic so they can save money on a repair. However, serious car problems will only get worse with time if you don't get them checked by a qualified repair person.

2. Neglecting to Change the Oil

Changing oil is one of the most important functions to keep a car running smoothly. Some believe that synthetic oil only needs to be changed twice a year but you really need to change it every few thousand miles.

3. Hitting the Brakes Hard

Hitting your brakes suddenly puts a lot of stress on your brake system. If you habitually slam on your brakes, you'll likely have to replace your fluid, pads and rotors sooner. 

4. Using Old Air and Oil Filters

Cleaning and reusing old air and oil filters is not recommended for most filters unless they're specifically marked as reusable. 

5. Driving Around on Low Tires

Check your tire pressure early and often. It's always best to check it first thing in the morning when the weather is coldest since temperature changes can affect your pressure reading.

6. Loading Your Car with Too Much Weight

While it's convenient to keep your bike racks or sporting equipment in the car at all times it can become quite a burden on the vehicle body over time. When you're not using the excess equipment, remove it.

7. Using the Wrong Oil Viscosity Level

Read the owner's manual to find out the correct oil viscosity you need to use. If you use oil with the wrong viscosity level you can cause permanent damage to your vehicle due to inadequate lubrication.

8. Forgetting to Change Burned Out Bulbs

Keeping a burned-out headlight or taillight may not seem like a big deal but it takes away from the safety of your vehicle.

9. Using Tires Out of Season

This particularly applies to drivers who live in areas with noticeable seasonal weather changes. If your winters are snowy you'll need a different set of tires.

10. Focusing on Oil Levels Only

Oil levels are certainly important, but you need to pay attention to other fluids as well. This includes brake fluid, transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid and coolant. Check these levels regularly and top up where needed.