9 Common Mistakes You Might be Making With Your Car
Our days would not be complete without our cars. They have become more than just a mode of transportation.
And while I understand that you’re doing the best you can to take care of your four-wheeled partner, there are some things that you might be doing wrong. You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to know what mistakes to avoid with your car. Just read this guide and you’re good to go.
Table of Contents
- Not checking the engine light!
- Not using the parking brake!
- Not replacing worn brake pads!
- Not changing oil at recommended intervals!
- Not changing the air filter!
- Not using the correct type of oil!
- Not checking the tyre pressure regularly!
- Not using the right car cleaner!
- Not using the right coolant/anti-freeze!
1. Not checking the engine light!
The engine light on your car’s dashboard is like the fire alarm in your house. And if you ignore it, one thing will surely burn down – your wallet.
The engine light goes on when there’s something wrong with the engine or the car’s emissions system. Small problems like a loose gas cap to serious ones like a malfunctioning catalytic converter or engine misfire, can be detected early by this light. So, when that light comes on, you better take action and you better take it fast.
Also, ignoring this light will negatively impact your car’s fuel economy and emissions. So think about the poor ol’ environment and take your car to a mechanic before you’re stuck on the side of the road with a smoking hood.
2. Not using the parking brake!
Use the parking brake whenever you put your car in park.
Why, you ask? Using the parking brake will prevent your car from rolling down the street like a runaway shopping cart if you are parked on a steep hill.
That’s not all though. It can also increase the life of your transmission. The weight of the car is really supported by the transmission when you park it which can damage the transmission over time. However, if you apply the parking brake, you relieve some of that pressure and support the health and longevity of your transmission.
So now that you know it, make sure to always use your parking brake. Remember – it’s safe, it’s smart.
3. Not replacing worn brake pads!
The brake pads in your car have so much to do with your road safety that you just can’t afford to take any risk with them. Over time, it’s only natural for brake pads to wear out and when that happens, you’re in for some trouble.
First of all, you’ll not be able to stop your car as quickly as you want to. Sounds frightening?
Also, not replacing your brake pads can cause damage to other parts of your braking system, like your rotors. And they’re anything but cheap to replace.
So, I guess we have established just how important it is to replace your brake pads when they start to wear down. It’s just a small price to pay for the safety of you and your fellow drivers.
4. Not changing oil at recommended intervals!
Engine oil is the lifeline of your car. It lubricates the parts of your engine, keeps it cool and removes any dirt or debris from the engine.
You might not realize it, but regular oil changes make the engine run more smoothly. And if you don’t, you’ll encounter a variety of problems, including worsened engine wear, poor fuel efficiency, and even engine failure. Additionally, it may alter your car’s emissions, making your trips less eco-friendly.
Therefore, change your oil every 3,000–5,000 miles to benefit both you and others around you. Your car (and also your wallet) will thank you for this sweet gesture.
5. Not changing the air filter!
Air filters are the lungs of your car. These filters make sure that the air entering your engine is clean. But, over time, these filters get clogged with dust particles, debris and pollen. This restricts the airflow to the engine.
I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but hear me out. A clogged air filter can reduce your car’s performance, and gas mileage, and even damage your engine over time. And if you happen to be someone with allergies, the allergens in the cabin will trigger the problem.
Now coming to the solution. It’s easy: change your air filters regularly. It’s a simple and smart way to ensure your car is running at its best and your engine is healthy as well.
6. Not using the correct type of oil!
It’s not rare for people to use the wrong type of oil in their cars. There’s a variety of these oils in the market. And if you’re not aware enough, it’s not hard to mess up.
If you’ve been there and done that, I am not saying that you won’t be able to drive your car with the wrong engine oil. You won’t feel the problem from the get-go.
But in the long run, it might damage the engine’s parts and components thereby reducing its efficiency and lifespan.
So make sure you only use the correct type of oil recommended by your car manufacturer. It will keep your engine running nice and smooth. And if you ever use the wrong oil, change it as soon as you can and you might be able to fix the problem.
7. Not checking the tyre pressure regularly!
Many of you must think that checking your car’s tyres pressure regularly is a waste of your time. Most of you won’t even know how to check your tyre pressure.
But what if I tell you that doing this can dramatically increase your safety on the road? Low tyre pressure negatively impacts your fuel efficiency. You’ll find yourself stopping at the gas station every other day. Not only this, low tyre pressure will make your tyres wear out faster than usual. Sounds like another expense to me.
So, don’t be slack. You only have to take out a few minutes every month to check your tyres’ pressure and save money in the long run.
8. Not using the right car cleaner!
If you’ve been washing your car with old soap or cleaning solution, let me be the first to stop you.
The dishwashing detergent in your household is meant to remove grease from dishes, not the protective waxes and finishes that maintain your car’s appearance. Car wash products are designed to eliminate dirt and oxidation while safeguarding the clear coat on your car.
Make sure you use the right car cleaner that not only cleans but protects the paint and coat on your car.
9. Not using the right coolant/anti-freeze!
Using the wrong coolant/antifreeze for your car is a serious mistake that might have consequences.
There are different types of coolants and not all of them are suitable for every style of vehicle. Your engine could overheat or corrode if you use the wrong coolant which means costly repairs.
To keep peak performance and prevent engine damage, only use the coolant recommended by your car’s manufacturer. It will keep your engine cool and safe from rust and corrosion.
Maintaining your car means more than just filling the tank regularly. From using the proper coolant to routinely checking tire pressure, there’s so much you still need to learn and practice to keep your car in excellent shape and extend its lifespan.
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