We’re all guilty of ignoring everything from a warning light on the dashboard to a rattling exhaust. We all live busy lives, after all. But it’s these moments, you know the ones, where blissful ignorance ends up costing you time and money that you simply can’t afford to lose.
Long-term, avoiding essential maintenance can dramatically decrease your car’s resale value and lead to more expensive repairs further down the road.
Habits are hard to break. But with a few minor changes, you can radically improve the life of your car and save yourself some cash in the process. Here are 6 car repair and maintenance mistakes to avoid:
Don’t ignore strange noises
Alarm bells should be ringing if you hear an unfamiliar noise coming from your car. It’s usually a telltale sign that you have a mechanical problem, so pay attention!
Driving is an experience that requires all of your senses. So whether you have a leisurely drive to the supermarket, take on hairpin bends in the countryside or race up the motorway, it’s in your best interest to give the heavy piece of machinery you are operating your fullest attention. It can make all the difference between your engine overheating or you being stranded at the side of the road.
Strange noises rarely go away by themselves and lead to more significant problems. So don’t ignore them any longer!
Don’t ignore the dashboard warning lights
Have you noticed your oil light on recently? Or your handbrake light is on, and yet it seems to be working just fine? Oh, and your engine temperature lights on!
One of the biggest mistakes drivers make is ignoring the warning lights that are trying to tell you exactly what’s wrong with your vehicle! If you don’t know what they all mean, check your driver’s manual – they are all listed.
As you can imagine, some of your dashboard lights are more serious than others, such as your engine warning light. So don’t delay. Get it checked out now!
Avoid missing essential routine services
Strangely enough, your car’s manufacturer knows a thing or two about how engines and the smallest gizmos that make your car function work. One of the best ways to extend the life of your vehicle is to stay on top of the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. Warranty only protects you so far!
Regular maintenance services typically include:
- Oil changes
- Fluid flushes
- Brake pad replacements
- Filter replacements
Letting your local mechanic give your car the once over also ensures you avoid any other issues that could lead to more significant, more costly repairs later on. That way, you’re not only covering scheduled maintenance but preventative maintenance too. Winning, if you ask me!
Tyres make the world go round
Beyond the obvious heart of your car, the engine, it’s easy to ignore the very fabric that allows your vehicle to move so freely – the tyres. They are the only part of your car that has contact with the road, so ignoring them is not an option.
Regularly checking your tyre pressure manually or with a tyre pressure monitoring system will ensure your tyres’ longevity and keep you safer on the roads. Your car’s manual will have all the pressure information you need.
For added peace of mind, make sure you never leave home without your spare carefully secured in the boot!
Overlooking general wear and tear
Everything from your tyres, brakes, brake pads, light bulbs, transmission and more, will all show wear over time. Undeniably, some elements of your car, such as a blown light bulb or squeaking brakes, will be more evident than internal rust. However, regular maintenance and inspection of your vehicle will ensure you avoid collateral damage or worse.
Familiarising yourself with your car’s manual and simply looking over everything from brake lights to checking your oil levels regularly will help you spot wear and tear before it gets out of hand.
Avoid using unsuitable fluids
Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, from engines to body. For example, one engine may be designed for 10W-30 oil, whereas another may only take 5W-20. One small error in judgement at the garage could risk increased fuel consumption, higher engine loads and starve top-end components of much-needed oil. Or worse, risk insufficient oil pressure and burn oil past the rings.
In short, using the wrong fluid, whether it’s brake fluid, engine coolant or transmission fluid – your car is likely to suffer poor performance and engine damage.
Want to spend less time at the garage? Familiarising yourself with your car’s key components, from correct fluids to tyre pressure will ensure the longevity of your vehicle.