As a car owner, you need to take care of your ride. Not only will your vehicle last longer, but it’ll also provide a safer driving experience. Here’s a look at six of the biggest car care mistakes to avoid.
1. Driving On “E”
Whether you’re short on cash or simply don’t feel like stopping by the gas station, it’s never a good idea to drive on a near-empty tank. This is among the most costly car care mistakes. A low level of gas can cause your vehicle’s fuel pump to overheat, thus making it more prone to failing. This is why you should always keep at least a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle.
2. Using the Wrong Motor Oil
Most drivers recognize the importance of getting regular oil changes. However, it’s just as critical to use the recommended type of motor oil. If you use the wrong motor oil grade, you could experience a loss of fuel economy or decreased performance. Even worse, the wrong grade may not provide an adequate level of protection. The extra wear and tear could noticeably decrease engine life.
3. Buying Inferior Brake Pads
In an attempt to save a few bucks, some drivers choose to use the cheapest parts available. Installing cheap brake pads is a big car care mistake. During heavy braking, low-quality pads are far more prone to fading. This means you’ll experience diminished stopping power. Cheap brake pads can also lead to warped rotors, which is yet another safety hazard. For your own personal security, spend the extra money on quality brake pads.
4. Failing to get a Wheel Alignment
Most automakers suggest car owners getting a wheel alignment once a year. Unfortunately, many drivers tend to neglect this important maintenance item. Failing to get a wheel alignment can cause your tires to wear down much sooner than expected. When your wheels aren’t properly aligned, your vehicle also won’t handle as well. If your vehicle is difficult to keep in a straight line, this is a tell-tale sign that a wheel alignment is needed.
5. Hiring a Backyard Mechanic
Think twice before taking your vehicle to a backyard mechanic. This could prove to be one of your most regrettable car care mistakes. Although these amateur handymen may offer you a great deal, the best approach is to take your vehicle to a certified automotive professional.
If a backyard mechanic makes a mistake, you stand to lose thousands of dollars. Some of today’s modern cars are engineered with sophisticated technologies, which makes them more complicated to work on. The average do-it-yourselfer doesn’t have the knowledge or equipment that it takes to perform certain repairs.
6. Ignoring Issues
When encountering potential car problems, always get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. Taking action could prevent you from becoming stranded on the side of the road. In most instances, car issues gradually become worse over time. This means you’ll likely end up spending even more money on repairs. Strange noises, check engine lights, and funny smells should all catch your attention.