You use your car quite a bit. For every commute, road trip, or errand run, you hop in your car and go on your merry way. But an unexpected problem can easily throw a wrench into your routine or plans, causing frustration and stress. Oftentimes, these unplanned issues come from neglected maintenance and repairs.
To keep your car in good shape, avoid the four following mistakes. Ignoring necessary maintenance can be dangerous and eventually lead to worse problems.
1. Overlooking Tire Care
For the safety of yourself and your passengers, it's imperative that you regularly care for your tires. Bald tires can be especially dangerous during inclement weather, as the surface of the tire doesn't provide enough traction to keep you safely on the road. Be sure to check the tread regularly so you know when your tires need to be replaced.
You can do this easily with a penny. Simply press the edge of the penny into the tread with Lincoln's head facing downwards. If you can see his entire head, it may be time to change your tires. Until then, get your tires rotated every six months or so to prolong the life of your tires and allow an even wear on the tires.
Also, ensure your tire pressure is up to par. Over- or underinflated tires can be dangerous. You can find the suggested tire pressure for your car in your owner's manual, and you can use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure. If you need a little air, use an air pump at your local gas station.
2. Ignoring the Fluids
Most car owners know how important oil is for a car, but it's not the only automotive fluid you need to worry about. Consult your owner's manual to find out when your brake or transmission fluid needs to be changed and when your oil, coolant, and other fluids should be replaced. If you take your car in for regular maintenance, your mechanic can also warn you when a fluid needs to be changed.
If you neglect to change the fluids, a small issue can easily become large and expensive over time. Failing to change the fluids can even damage your engine so badly that you need to replace it entirely, which can be costly.
3. Letting Dirt Build Up on Your Car
Washing your car does more than restore it to its shining glory. Giving it a good scrub every now and then can protect your paint job from problems like rust, oxidized paint, and corrosion. If it's too cold outside to wash your car yourself, run it through an automated car wash to rinse off road salt and dirt.
4. Ignoring Signs of Trouble
As the owner of your car, you know your car better than anyone else. You know how it sounds, smells, and feels as you drive it. If your vehicle starts to make a small, odd noise, don't ignore it. If it suddenly struggles to make it up a hill it usually handles easily, don't brush it off. When you notice something different about your car, take note of it and consult a trusted mechanic to ensure it's not a concern.
If the check engine light comes on, don't disregard it, even if your car seems fine. You may need a part replaced, and letting it be can lead to more expensive and extensive issues.
Don't ignore regular maintenance; keep a careful eye on your vehicle and set up a care routine for your car. Check your tires and fluids, and don't brush aside the dashboard warning lights. And if you're worried something is wrong but don't know what, be sure to consult a specialist instead of shrugging it off.
However, if your car looks like it may be on its last legs, or if you're thinking of getting a new car, consider donating your car to Newgate School. Doing so can allow young adults to learn how to maintain and repair cars and pursue a career in the industry.