Do you remember the promises you made to your car when it first came home? .. and how many of them have you managed to fulfil till now ??
When it comes to its maintenance, there are things you should and should not be doing. If you get off track, you could soon find yourself making one mistake after the next.. and make your beloved car suffer. Now you don’t want that… do you??
Not only will poor maintenance habits impact the condition of your car, but it could also burn a huge-hole in your pocket, and be a risk to your life on road. While there are many things that can cause your car’s systems to malfunction, here are some common car maintenance mistakes that can land you in a lot of trouble. A personal suggestion, just listen to your car, you don’t need an expensive mechanic to tell you that your car needs care!
1. Ignoring warning lights
Warning lights are named such for a reason. When an indicator light (such as “Check Engine Light” sign) on your dashboard (usually located next to the speedometer) remains illuminated even when the engine has started, there should be no procrastinating. This could mean either the oil levels are low or the Oxygen Sensors, Gas Cap or mass airflow sensors or any other electrical component is at fault and needs replacement. Bring your car in for a check-up as soon as you can. As clichéd as it sounds, a stitch in time saves nine!
2. Skipping Oil Changes
Although newer car models do not need oil change as frequently as older cars do, it should still be done regularly. If you let the oil get too grimy, it won’t be able to effectively lubricate the engine and prevent it from overheating! Over a period of time, prolonged usage will result in sludge formation in the oil, which can severely damage your car’s engine chamber and valves- pretty expensive parts to replace!
Typically, your car manufacturer will recommend an oil change based on a given period (ex. every 3 months) or your car’s mileage (ex. every 47000 KM). It is partly your responsibility to be aware of this information so you can schedule an appointment at the proper time.
3. Neglecting Fluid Checks
It’s a common misconception that motor oil is the only fluid in the car that needs to be checked and changed. It’s true that motor oil is one of the more critical fluids in your vehicle but there are many other fluids in the car that should be checked, exchanged, and/or topped off. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, engine coolant, and power steering fluid should all be checked and serviced as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Doing this helps to avoid leaks and keeps your vehicle operating properly.
4. Not getting off the road even when the engine is boiling up!
Even automotive experts have admitted to being guilty of this. It is definitely not among the wisest choices. An engine, by nature, gets extremely hot when it runs, requiring a cooling system to avoid overheating. When the cooling system fails (and it can happen to anyone), the vehicle needs to be stopped immediately. In this situation, the best idea is to turn the car off and call for a tow.
5. Not Rotating Tyres/Neglecting to get a wheel alignment
This can be a simple thing to overlook while driving but having misaligned wheels can result in serious issues and calls for proper attention. There is only one way to ensure the right balance of your car and that is by having your vehicle’s alignment checked. As for tyre rotation, most manufacturers’ recommend that tyres be aligned every 10000KM but check your owner’s manual to be sure.
6. Getting car serviced at roadside garages
Especially if you do not know much about the technicalities, it becomes easier to get robbed by the mechanic who generally place cheap inferior quality parts which holds no guarantee. Ultimately, you have to give more frequent visits and the purpose of getting the job done at inexpensive rates fails, not to mention the added inconvenience of having to go through the same thing twice.
7. Not Checking your Tyre Pressure
It is a common mistake to forget to check the air pressure in tyres. While the tyres may not blow out, low tyre pressure could lead to poor fuel economy so your wallet could still be affected. The weather outside has a big effect on your tyre pressure. Tyres lose 1 to 2 lbs. of air pressure for every 10° temperature drop. Therefore, it is best to check your tyre pressure regularly because you never know when it might get low. After all, the last thing you want is a flat tyre and/or poor gas mileage.
Ignoring brake wear
The brakes of a car are designed to work in silence so if you hear a grinding or screeching noise when you hit the brake pedal your car certainly has some sort of braking issue. Brake wear is an indeterminate science- in some cases the brake pads go 70,000 miles while in others, they may end up at 25000 miles only; all depending upon the type of car, it’s usage and your driving style. Probably the worst thing that can happen is a brake fluid leak which can cause the car to lose all its braking power. For safety, brake fluid should be repaired after every 2 years, regardless the mileage. If your car is needing a brake pad or disc repair, go now and get it fixed.