The Top 9 Auto Maintenance Mistakes (Are You Guilty?)
We all know it’s important to take care of our vehicles. After all, it’s a well-known fact that a little mechanical love once in a while is the key to a safe, efficient and long-lasting ride.
But as we go about our daily routines, driving from point A to point B and back again in a vehicle that’s running just fine, it’s easy to ignore or forget about vehicle maintenance. And while you probably won’t notice any immediate issues, that doesn’t mean a potential problem isn’t brewing.
Are you guilty of these incredibly common maintenance (or lack thereof…) mistakes?
Ignoring your wipers
Ninety-percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. When your wipers can’t clear the windshield properly, the streaks and glare can significantly impair your vision and your ability to drive safely.
That’s why it’s so important to change your wipers before they fail. Signs it’s time for new wiper blades include streaking, chattering (when they skip across the windshield), worn rubber or split rubber.
Ignoring your owner’s manual
You know that little book you keep in your glove compartment? The one with the picture of your car on it? That’s your owner’s manual and it contains all sorts of important information, like recommended maintenance schedules and answers to all of those pesky questions that are keeping you up at night (like how much weight your vehicle can actually carry). Give it a read once in a while.
Not keeping an up-to-date record of what’s been done
Keeping tabs on your vehicle’s maintenance isn’t fun, but it’s something you have to do. With a proper maintenance history in place, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done and when. Plus, if you ever want to sell your car, prospective buyers will know that your car is cared for and properly maintained.
Most owner’s manuals include a nifty chart at the back where you can track your vehicle’s maintenance history. If you’re more the tech-y type, there are plenty of apps that manage all of your maintenance needs.
Not changing your oil
Changing your oil on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do for your vehicle. Oil is what cools, cleans, lubricates and seals the internal components of your engine, and without it you will face an expensive engine repair.
So how often should you change your oil? Always follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals. Keep in mind, though, that Victoria is considered a severe service area, so changing your oil every 5000 km or 6 months is a preferred interval.
And when you finally do, only paying attention to your oil levels
Do you keep close tabs on your oil levels? Great! But don’t forget to also pay attention to your car’s many other fluids. Reduced levels of coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid and even wiper fluid can all wreak havoc on your car. Don’t forget to check them regularly too!
Driving with burned out bulbs
Many people drive around with burned out bulbs until a kind stranger lets them know. Replacing them can be a chore, but you have to get it done as soon as possible. Driving with one headlight significantly diminishes your ability to see, and driving without a blinker is a safety hazard for you and everyone around you. Plus, driving around with a burned out bulb is a ticketable offense here in British Columbia.
Overloading your trunk, or your roof…
When packing for a trip or moving your best friend across town, try not to cram as much stuff as possible into your car. Your car has a weight limit (check your manual!) and overloading it will not only put unnecessary stress on your vehicle’s many parts, but can also shorten your tires’ life, make it difficult to steer, and kill your gas mileage.
Ignoring strange noises
Hear a mysterious clunking in the engine? A squealing in the brakes? A grinding in the transmission? Don’t ignore these sounds, or anything else out of the ordinary. Trust your instincts and bring your car into Searle’s as soon as possible.
Avoiding the mechanic
If you dread going to the mechanic, then you have the wrong mechanic. A good mechanic should be someone you not only trust, but also someone who has the skills and expertise to get the job done right.
So if you’re guilty of driving around in a neglected car, bring your car into Searle’s Auto. We’ll explain what needs to be done, step-by-step, and give you the honest, high quality service you’ve been looking for. And remember: It’s never too late to starting treating your vehicle right!