Top 10 Car Maintenance Mistakes
Some simple tips to save money and add life to your ride.
Compared to the family trucksters of a generation ago, modern cars require about as much maintenance as a toaster. This is a real liberation from the oil, lube and tune merry-go-round that ruled not so long ago.
Curiously, many people haven't adjusted their thinking to keep pace with new car maintenance schedules. The preoccupied still run their daily drivers without service until the dash warning lights burn out, while over-achievers fret about running synthetic oil more than 2,500 miles without a change.
Although maintenance intervals are now more widely spaced, even the newest cars require scheduled service to live long, productive lives. Whether yours is the latest model or you paid it off years ago, the trick is giving your car the maintenance it was designed to receive.
Surprisingly, the answer to what maintenance is required is hiding no farther away than the glove box. Every car is supplied with a maintenance schedule — in the owner's manual or in a separate maintenance log book — that details that vehicle's needs. A few minutes assimilating these requirements will help you avoid the following common car-maintenance pitfalls.
Proper Tire Inflation and Rotation
Tires leak naturally and need the occasional check. Figuratively speaking, underinflated tires suck up gasoline. Under- or overinflated tires wear out sooner, and deliver the same emergency maneuver handling as marshmallows. You probably aren't going to check tire pressures monthly, but how about twice a year?
Furthermore, front and rear tires wear differently and should be rotated to even that wear. Your owner's manual will have a recommendation on both pressure and rotation periods.
Here's a news flash: It's much easier to avoid hitting things you can see. Simple as it is, that's the concept behind replacing your windshield wipers before they fossilize into noisy uselessness.
Fall is the ideal wiper replacement time: after the blade-baking summer and before the fall and winter nastiness. Depending on location, wiper replacement may be an annual affair in the Southwest to a biannual chore in northern climes.
There are no more "tune-ups." Valves no longer need adjusting, ignition timing is computer controlled and there are no carburetors to fiddle with. About all that's left of the old tune-up drill are the spark plugs. These are often good for 100,000 miles, so don't change parts just to change parts. Instead, save up for those big 60,000- and 120,000-mile services when the timing belt, spark plug wires and coolant are due for replacement.
"If some is good, more is better" thinking does not apply to octane. Here the rule is to supply whatever octane the engine is rated for and call it done. Higher-than-required octane does not yield more power or mileage, only oil company profits.
Some engines are rated for premium 91 octane fuel but can burn 87 octane regular, thanks to the magic of knock sensors. In that case, run regular gas if puttering around surface streets, and premium fuel if full-throttle driving is part of your daily repertoire.
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Listen up peoples,
All comments about keeping oil changes 3,000 miles and below are mis-guided! You people are the reason the author wrote this article! TIMES ARE CHANGING GRANDPAS! It's hilarious people are posting right to where the author says - you don't need to change at 3,000 miles anymore, then you come on and say, "YES WE DO! THAT'S HOW IT'S ALWAYS BEEN DONE!"
Modern engines are completely capable of 7,500 - 10,000, even 15,000 mile oil changes!
Get your ignorant heads out of the sand, I used oil for 3,000 miles and sent a sample of the oil to a professional oil analysis company to have it tested. Their tests concluded the lubricating, cooling, and all around performance of the oil was at 98% capacity and recommeded I move to 6,000 mile oil changes. That's real life examination and science! After the next sample they moved me up to 10,000 miles!
But by all means, keep oil companies afloat with your strict oil change policies, I'll enjoy the savings!
How about I do all the work to my car I want and the hell do you people care when I do it, its my money and literally has no effect on you what so ever. Oh, and I do check my tire pressure ever week, on Sunday night when I clean my car and check all the fluids.