According to professional mechanics, neglecting proper maintenance and service is a leading cause of mechanical issues. Many high cost repair issues and emergencies can be prevented by avoiding these top ten worst things.
- Ignore the Check Engine Light - Check engine lights are designed to warn a driver of a malfunction detected in the computer. Though the lights can temporarily flash in error, if they stay on there is an issue with the auto that needs to be diagnosed. The software gives an error code to mechanic's through a scan tool and can be easily identified.
- Neglect Regular Maintenance - Service plans are designed to encourage owners to keep their vehicles in working order. These check ups are not only for performing regular maintenance. It is not uncommon to find that keeping maintenance up is a requirement to keep a car's warranty valid.
- Have Improper Tire Pressure - The tire pressure should be kept within the acceptable limits based on the specifications. Not only does improper tire pressure decrease fuel efficiency, it speeds up the wear on the tire. Vehicles with properly inflated tires will be better on fuel and get more use from the tires. The limits are listed in the owner's manual and can also be obtained from knowledgeable mechanics.
- Let Vehicle Run Low on Fluids - Beyond the regular oil change many of a vehicles's systems require fluid to function properly. One of the worst things you can do is neglect to keep them clean and at proper levels. Each of these can be easily checked during scheduled maintenance, are a task that you can do at home, can be checked by professional mechanics, and may be covered under a car's warranty. This may be called "coolant and fluid services" yet includes maintenance of the; transmission, brake, coolant, and power steering fluids. Review your scheduled maintenance guide to determine when to get coolant and fluid services done.
- Using Generic Replacement Parts - Cars are designed to function with the quality parts that they were originally built with. Replacing these with less quality parts can result in increased wear and the higher instance of malfunction. This danger goes beyond parts in just systems designed for safety like the brake. Generic parts may also be prohibited in a car's warranty.
- Ignore Transmission Issues - The transmission is designed to last through hundreds of thousands of miles. Ignoring transmission care is one of the most expensive mistakes an owner can make. Regular flushing of the transmission fluid lengthens its life and prevents emergencies caused by ignoring transmission maintenance.
- Not Changing the Oil - Oil lubricates the engine, lengthening its life and preventing damaging build up. It is part of a scheduled maintenance plan and is easy to change. Though opinions on when to change the oil vary each car model has different guidelines. You can find the appropriate oil change schedule in your owner's manual.
- Leaving a Dirty Air Filter - Air filters help remove dirt and dust from the intake, allowing the engine to receive cleaner air. They should be changed every 20,000 or as needed and are easily accessed and inspected visually. The cost to replace air filters is minimal yet neglecting it can result in higher repair costs. Both the oxygen sensor and catalytic converter can become damaged if this filter is not replaced.
- Using Unqualified Mechanic - Though work by an unqualified mechanic may be cheaper, repairs that are not completed properly can be immensely dangerous. Not only can they cause malfunctions but they may result in accidents that can put drivers and passengers at risk of injury.
- Driving Overheated - An overheated vehicle can be caused by minor issues such as a hose that needs to be replaced. Diagnosing the issue may require a mechanic's assistance though hose replacements are generally inexpensive. Continuing to drive while overheated can eventually cause a crack in the engine block or a blown gasket. Either of these scenarios will costs thousands to repair.
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