Thursday, September 8, 2011

Common Car Maintenance Mistakes

When it comes to vehicle maintenance and upkeep, it's important to be proactive, to take the initiative necessary to ensure proper functioning of your car or truck, but of course, it's also important to be wise and discerning, and ultimately to act not just out of good intentions, but also out of real knowledge. There is perhaps no car maintenance mistake more common than simple neglect, but even among those who strive to take care of their cars, there are certain pratfalls and common blunders that should and can be avoided.

One common mistake is to think that the only important thing under the hood of your car is the oil tank. Indeed, anybody who knows anything about car maintenance knows that regularly checking oil levels is important, and indeed it is, but there are plenty of other fluids located in the same neighborhood, and it's vital that you check and maintain all of them including brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant.

A related mistake is to fill your oil tank with the wrong kind of oil or, more specifically, oil with the wrong viscosity. Again, it is admirable when anyone takes the initiative to keep the oil tank filled properly, but it's crucial to make sure you're using the proper weight of oil, the one recommended in your owner's manual. Using the wrong kind of oil can ultimately lead to a lot of wear and tear in your engine.

Some of the most common car maintenance mistakes can happen while you're actually driving the vehicle. For example, slamming the brakes is a great way to ensure that your brakes fizzle out on you early. Of course we all encounter those emergency situations when slamming on the brakes is really the only option but making every stop an emergency stop is ultimately going to mean a much shorter life for your brakes, and possibly some very real danger to you, the driver.

And here's another, particularly major mistake that is far too often made by auto owners: Avoiding taking a trip to the mechanic. Of course, keeping your vehicle kept up to date on its routine maintenance will largely eliminate the need for a mechanic, but still, things happen, and the single best way to see your car fall apart on you is to skip out on the mechanic. If there is a problem you can't fix on your own or if your engine service light comes on you need to have it worked on by a professional. Delaying this will only make the repair more costly and major.

But again, this warrants repeating: The biggest car maintenance mistake of all is to avoid it altogether. Your car is an investment of both your money and your time, and neglecting the proper upkeep of your automobile is basically like squandering that investment. Stay on top of routine maintenance, and ensure that, when it comes to taking care of your car, you are both vigilant and well-informed.

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