The best way to ensure that your used car stays in peak condition for as long as possible is to keep up with routine maintenance. By giving your vehicle the TLC it requires, you can avert system failures, avoid more expensive repair needs, and ensure the highest efficiency.
In general, routine auto maintenance is fairly easy to grasp… yet there are some possible areas of confusion. Indeed, there are some common car care failures that are important to be aware of, and to avoid whenever possible. Here’s a rundown.
Auto Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid
Not knowing your owner’s manual.
It’s hard to properly care for your vehicle if you don’t know what the vehicle needs. To that end, one of the smartest things you can do as a car or truck owner is to spend just a few minutes getting familiar with the owner’s manual.
Note that this manual is written by the people who literally designed the vehicle, and they know what it needs better than anyone else. Their recommendations about what kind of oil to use, how often to have the oil and filters changed, etc. can provide you with invaluable guidance.
Overlooking key indicators.
Usually, if your car is due for some kind of service, it will let you know. Make sure you keep your eyes and ears open for telltale signs that your car needs some work done. Most of the time, they’ll be pretty obvious. Some common examples include:
One of your dashboard lights is illuminated, e.g., Check Engine, Tire Alert, etc.
You start to notice strange sounds from the engine or from the brakes.
Your car starts to drive differently; for example, you notice the brakes aren’t as responsive, the ride isn’t as smooth, etc.
You notice that you have fluids leaking, or puddles that collect whenever you park the vehicle.
If you see any of these warning signs, schedule a service visit ASAP.
Neglecting basic DIY checks.
There are some things for which you’ll need the help of a service professional. Other things you can handle all on your own. A couple of examples:
Once a month, use a tire gauge to verify that your tires are at the factory-recommended psi level. Locate this information in the owner’s manual. If you need to put a little more air in the tires, do so with any self-service air pump.
Another monthly task: Use the dipstick to check your oil level. If it’s lower than the recommended indicator, schedule a service visit. And if the oil appears dark or dirty, that’s also reason to schedule an oil change.
Not having a maintenance routine.
Finally, just make sure you know roughly what routine maintenance requirements your vehicle has…including oil changes, tire rotation, brake inspection, etc. You can talk with your service technician to figure out what your routine maintenance schedule should be, and you might even use something like Google Calendar to hold yourself accountable.
Make sure you don’t overlook these simple yet significant ways of taking care of your used car. Learn more by following Get My Auto on Facebook.