Common Car Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

by Carmen PickelMarch 17, 2023
Common Car Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

As a car owner, understanding the importance of vehicle maintenance is crucial for safety and ensuring the longevity of your vehicle. While taking the time to follow the proper steps to maintain a car can feel like a drag, it is important to understand the benefits in the long-run. The following are several mistakes first time car owners commonly make when it comes to car maintenance:

Neglecting Oil Changes

Forgetting to regularly change the oil in your car can be a dangerous mistake over time. Oil in a vehicle plays a crucial role in lubricating and protecting the engine’s moving parts which is why neglecting oil changes in a vehicle can be dangerous. As a car is driven over time, the oil can become contaminated with dirt, debris, and other particles, which can reduce its effectiveness and lead to engine damage.

When oil is not changed regularly, it can lose the ability to flow through the engine and effectively lubricate the necessary parts. This can cause increased friction and heat, which can eventually lead to engine failure. In some cases, a lack of oil can even cause the engine to seize, which can potentially result in a dangerous accident if the engine malfunctions and you lose control while driving. Engine damage can be costly to repair which is why it is important to maintain oil for a properly functioning engine. 

Neglecting oil changes can also reduce fuel efficiency and increase emissions. Driving with low oil levels or with dirty and contaminated oil can cause the car’s engine to work harder than it needs to, which can lead to decreased fuel economy and increased emissions. It's important to follow your car manufacturer's recommended oil change schedule and have someone experienced with oil changes help you to regularly keep the engine lubricated and operating smoothly. This can help prevent costly engine damage and keep the vehicle safe and reliable on the road.

Ignoring Regular Tire Care

Poor tire care can be harmful for your car in the long-run and make the vehicle dangerous to drive in. Tires are an extremely important part of a car to maintain for safe driving and to avoid potential accidents on the road. Some of the common dangers of ignoring regular tire maintenance include:

  • Blowouts: Underinflated or overinflated tires can cause blowouts while driving. This can lead to dangerous accidents if the car loses control and collides into other vehicles or objects on the road. Tire blowout accidents can also result in costly damages to the vehicle.
  • Reduced traction: Tires that have been worn out over time or not properly inflated can reduce the amount of traction they have on the road. This can make it more difficult to control the car’s braking and steering while driving, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Hydroplaning: Tires with worn out treads have a higher risk of hydroplaning, which is when a layer of water builds up between the tires and the road surface, causing the vehicle to lose traction and control. This can result in dangerous accidents from losing control of the vehicle and swerving into traffic or other objects on the roadways. 
  • Uneven wear: Tires that are not rotated regularly or not aligned properly can wear out unevenly, preventing the car from driving smoothly. This can also potentially cause damage to the car’s suspension and other parts of the vehicle.

Overall, regularly checking and maintaining a car’s tires according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations is extremely important to avoid putting you and others on the road at risk of injury in a dangerous car accident.

Overlooking Brake Maintenance

Having properly functioning brakes is critical to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive. Overlooking brake maintenance can be very dangerous as it can lead to a decreased ability to stop or slow down a vehicle. Getting your vehicle’s brakes regularly checked and maintained can ensure your car’s braking ability is reliable and in working condition. If the brakes are not properly maintained, over time the brake pads can wear down and the brake fluid can become contaminated or low. These issues can lead to a decrease in the overall stopping power of the vehicle, putting the driver and others at risk of accidents and injuries. An increased risk of car accidents can be a result of longer stopping distances and reduced braking efficiency in a poorly maintained brake system.

Worn out brakes can also cause the vehicle to drift to one side which can be very dangerous, especially in emergency situations when the driver needs to stop the car quickly. If a car’s brakes malfunction, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and potentially result in a collision with other vehicles. 

Overlooking brake maintenance can also cause damage to other parts of the vehicle, such as the rotors and calipers, which can be an expensive repair and replacement. Having your vehicle’s brakes regularly inspected by a qualified auto mechanic to replace brake pads and fluids when needed is important to keep your vehicle working properly and effectively.

Avoiding Regular Maintenance Inspections

A big mistake that car owners can make is avoiding routine maintenance inspections. Owning a car requires regular servicing and maintenance inspections which are important for safety and the functioning of the vehicle. Having a qualified auto mechanic inspect your vehicle can help ensure that it is in proper working condition and can safely perform as needed in various driving scenarios. Over time and as a car is regularly used, various parts can become worn or damaged, which can compromise the vehicle's safety and increase the risk of accidents. For example, worn brake pads, a malfunctioning steering system, or a damaged suspension can all impair a driver's ability to control the vehicle, increasing the risk of a car crash.

Taking your car in for regular maintenance inspections can help catch these types of issues early, before they become more serious problems that can cause accidents while driving. Getting any wear and tear taken care of early on can help prevent costly repairs or replacements later. In addition to catching potential issues early, regular maintenance inspections can also help extend the life of a vehicle and ensure it operates as efficiently as possible. By keeping the engine and other parts properly maintained, a car is less likely to experience breakdowns or other issues that can risk the safety of the vehicle.

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