Whether you’ve just purchased a brand-new, shiny car from a dealership, or a high-quality pre-owned vehicle from Ride Time, you’ll need to maintain it to keep it in great shape, and ensure that it maintains its value.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at a few car maintenance mistakes that are common in car owners. By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be able to keep your car in better shape, minimize maintenance costs, and avoid potential breakdowns. Let’s get started.
1. Ignoring Your “Check Engine” Light
We get it – you may not want to admit that your check engine light is lit up, and that your car may need some costly repairs. But it’s always better to get your car checked out sooner, rather than later.
The “check engine” light only illuminates when there is something seriously wrong with your car. Engine and transmission malfunctions, for example, may cause the check engine light to come on.
You should get your car checked out at a local repair shop, or even an auto parts store ASAP. If you don’t, you might end up paying even more in repairs later down the line, when a serious mechanical failure results in a breakdown.
2. Driving Around On Underinflated Tires
If your car has a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensor) and it’s illuminated, you should fill your tires up right away. This light will only turn on when one or more of your tires is underinflated.
If you are driving an older car that does not have a TPMS, use a tire pressure gauge ($10 at your local hardware store) to make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Properly inflated tires wear down less quickly, offer better gas mileage, and ensure that you’re less likely to experience a blowout or a tire failure. If your tires seem to be constantly under-inflated, they may be leaky – get them checked at a repair shop.
3. Failing To Rotate Tires Or Align Wheels
Your car may need to be aligned every two to three years, to ensure that it does not “sway” to one side or the other when you’re driving. You will also need to rotate your tires roughly every 10,000km.
Aligning your wheels and rotating your tires ensures an even, regular wear pattern on your tires. If you neglect alignments and rotations, your front and back tires will wear out unevenly, and you will have to replace them earlier. Given that it can cost $600+ to replace a set of tires, a little preventative maintenance is the best option.
4. Skipping Oil Changes
Your car’s manual will lay out the proper oil change interval for your vehicle. Usually, this is every 6 months or every 5,000-7,500km – whichever comes first.
That’s an important thing to remember. If you don’t drive regularly, you may not reach 7,500km in six months, but you should still get your oil changed. Regular oil changes are the single best way to preserve your car’s engine, and ensure that it runs smoothly.
5. Not Inspecting Your Brakes
If your brake pads are severely worn, they can damage your brake rotors or wheels, requiring expensive repairs. In addition, worn brake pads are not effective at stopping your vehicle, which makes it much less safe to drive.
On some cars, you can see the brake pad through the wheel. Take a look at it. If it looks thinner than about 0.6cm, it’s time to replace your brake pads.
Another sign that your brakes may need to be replaced is a “squealing” sound from your car. Brake pads have a metal “shim” that is exposed when they are worn out. This shim rubs against the brake system, causing that high-pitched noise. Replace your brake pads ASAP as soon as you hear them start to squeal.
Keep Your Car In Great Shape With These Tips
These are the 5 most common maintenance mistakes that car owners make, If you take the time to keep your vehicle maintained, and you follow our advice, your car is sure to be a reliable and dependable form of transportation for the years to come!