It’s one matter to buy a car and enjoy driving it, as most of us do, but it’s another matter altogether to take care of our vehicles and ensure they stay in tip-top condition year in and year out.
If you’ve been lagging in your care in this area, it’s time to start doing a little better if you want your car to perform for you long-term and better hold its value. If you’re new to car maintenance tasks, though, it pays to avoid some of the most common errors people make in this arena.
For starters, don’t be like many people and ignore the warning signs that come up in your car to help inform you about potential issues that need taking care of. You might think that if you recently got your car serviced or did some jobs on it, you don’t have to worry about heeding warning signs, but new problems can arise anytime without warning. As such, always pay attention to alarm bells, flashing lights, etc.
In particular, don’t ignore the Check Engine light if it comes on in your vehicle, even if your car seems to be working just fine. Look in the manual that comes with your car to see what the next steps are if this light shows up. You may be able to check some things yourself or fix some minor matters, or you may need to have your car inspected by a professional mechanic.
Also, note any Tire Pressure Monitoring System lights indicating you need to examine your vehicle’s tire pressure ASAP, as the levels may have dropped to a less-than-safe status. Alternatively, the sensor may need replacing, so if the air seems fine, you can order a new sensor to sort out this job.
Another standard error people make in car maintenance is not setting themselves up with the right tools. If you’re lacking in this area, search online or at local auto or hardware stores, and you’ll find quality mechanics tools available at various prices to suit different budgets.
While you might think you can get away with using the general everyday tools you have at home for odd jobs around your property, remember that it’s essential to have the right auto tools and proper cleaning aids to take care of your vehicle. If you use the wrong devices, you can create more damage and possibly void your warranty or insurance cover, too.
Although you might have learned how to do an oil change on your car before you learned any other tasks, or it’s at the top of your list to educate yourself on, you don’t want to make the mistake of not doing this job regularly enough. Many people know how to do it but don’t complete it as needed, and cause issues with their vehicle in turn.
You probably won’t have to do an oil change every 3,000 or so miles these days if you have a newer model vehicle since it was more the older cars that needed new oil so frequently, but it’s best to tick this job off your to-do list around every 7,000 miles or so. It pays to put a note in your diary so you don’t forget this, as it’s easy for time to fly by and miles to add up before you know it.
Another related maintenance error of note when it comes to oil changes is using the wrong oil. Don’t try to skimp out and use less-than-quality products in your machine, too little of it, or the wrong type. Read the car manual to see if there are instructions on the type and quantity you should use or ask your mechanic for advice.
Lastly, read the car instruction manual for advice and information before you do too many jobs on your vehicle or ignore tasks. Just because you may have had experience working on machines before and know how other cars needed things done, this doesn’t mean your current car operates the same and needs the same things. Manufacturers provide manuals to give car owners specific details about what to do and not do when driving and maintaining cars, and you risk damaging your vehicle if you neglect this information.
Other common car maintenance errors to avoid are failing to inspect the brakes or clean filters regularly, not putting new wiper blades on your car, or putting jobs off in general until it’s too late and problems have arisen or gotten bigger.
If you don’t go down the wrong paths regarding vehicle maintenance and carefully steer clear of the above mistakes and more, you’ll have a healthier, more efficient car that lasts longer for you and saves you money over the years.
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