How you might be killing your car
A survey of auto mechanics reveals the most common mistakes we make with our wheels. Ignore them at your peril.
A former co-worker noticed a funny noise in one of the family's two cars. His wife said she'd heard the sound, too, but "just turned up the radio." Problem solved.
Here's hoping you aren't quite so dismissive when your own car tries to tell you something. There's a reason the "check engine" light was invented, and there's a darned good reason not to ignore it: Because when minor problems aren't addressed they can turn into huge, expensive problems.
Your best defense is a simple one: following the maintenance schedule found in your car's service manual. "Putting off recommended/scheduled maintenance" was the No. 1 mistake cited in a CarMD.com survey of 20 ASE-certified master technicians.
The second-biggest mistake was "ignoring the 'check engine' light." Mistake No. 3 was "not changing the oil, or not having it changed on time" -- however, that doesn't necessarily mean on an every-three-months schedule. In fact, some new cars can go up to a year.
CarMD.com spokeswoman Kristin Brocoff bought a 2012 Honda Pilot last year. Its manual stipulates waiting for the oil light to come on before arranging a change, for up to 12 months. (At that point the oil should be swapped out regardless.)
"The industry is really changing with regard to oil," Brocoff says.
Remember that the next time a quick-lube place tries to sell you on the absolute necessity of quarterly changes. Follow the manufacturer recommendations instead -- and don't try to eke out extra miles. The mechanics surveyed say that not changing the oil on time is the single most damaging thing you can do to your vehicle.
An ounce of prevention
The other seven mistakes cited were:
- Not checking tire pressure.
- Neglecting coolant, brake, transmission and other fluid services.
- Continuing to drive when the vehicle is overheating.
- Not changing fuel and air filters.
- Having unqualified shops service your vehicle.
- Using inferior or uncertified parts.
- Trying to service your own high-tech vehicle.
Don't do it, even if your car seems to be driving just fine. Sure, maybe your best buddy never paid much attention to his car and it didn't give him many problems. Could be he was just super-lucky, or that he traded in his autos before they had the chance to develop any serious twitches.
For maximum return on your auto investment, follow the manufacturer recommendations. My roommate's been driving the same car for 17 years, thanks to scrupulous attention to scheduled maintenance. It looks as though rust will kill it before mechanical failure does. What could a dozen or more years without a car payment do for your bottom line?
Readers: What's the longest you ever drove a car?
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I guess for some folks,changing oil or getting it changed is to much effort for them. I had the luck of seeing a suzuki that the engine had died on it.The car had 45000 miles and the people had never changed the oil! they admitted to it.I saw the motor torn down and what happened,it was toast.
If people want to save money,they should consider buying a vehicle that matches they're needs.
I see to many pickup trucks used as daily commuters.
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