Little Mistakes That Can Lead To Big Car Repair Bills
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be taken as a replacement for following your owners manual or the advice of a certified mechanic. These tips are a culmination from various sources widely available on the internet.
As anyone who’s ever owned a car knows, they are a huge financial responsibility. Aside from the initial purchase price, there’s insurance, gasoline, and of course, repairs and maintenance.
While some car repairs are unavoidable, there are others that are totally avoidable if you take proper care of your vehicle. Here are a few of the most costly car repairs that are avoidable with some simple preventive maintenance.
Never Ignore The Check Engine Light
Ignoring the check engine can lead to major engine damage that could have easily been avoided had the problem been addressed immediately. There are many reasons the light comes on such as a loose gas cap, bad oxygen sensor, or failed catalytic converter.
Failing To Replace The Battery When Needed
Depending on the battery's condition, most last anywhere from three to five years. If you're still driving on the original battery that came with the car, chances are it needs to be replaced. Modern vehicles are full of electronic features that put a strain on the electrical system, and an old battery will struggle to keep up.
If your battery is drained, it will take longer for your starter to turn over. Your vehicle now draws more electricity, and the alternator kicks in to throw additional amps at the battery in order to recharge it. All those things drawing current can be affected by the spikes and lows over time.
It's easy to eliminate a lot of electrical problems by replacing the battery when needed
Not Maintaining Proper Fuel Level.
Electric fuel pumps are located in the fuel tank. Running the pump dry can damage it. The debris from the bottom of the tank will also get into the fuel filter and clog it. This will reduce fuel flow to the engine and cause all sorts of drivability problems.
If you allow the fuel level to constantly run lower than a quarter tank full, you run the risk of having to replace the fuel pump sooner than necessary. It sounds weird but gasoline has a cooling effect on the fuel pump, and running low all the time could potentially shorten its lifespan
Unnecessary Transmission Flushes
If you know the history of your car, it may be okay to do transmission flushes just as your preventative maintenance suggests. However If you don't know the history and the car is running fine, then you might reconsider getting it done.
When you fill your car with new transmission fluid, it has specially designed detergent in it to keep a transmission clean. The issue is that it can break loose debris already present in the transmission resulting in a clogged filter. If the filter gets clogged, it will restrict fluid flow and cause all sorts of problems.
Not Using The Proper Tire Size
Whether it's a spare tire or just buying tires not rated for your vehicle, putting the wrong size tire on your car will cause problems. The spare tire is rated for a limited amount of miles and speed, so you should only use it in an emergency situation.
When you drive with mismatched tire sizes, it can cause the vehicle's differential to think that the smaller tires are slipping. It then tries to compensate by sending more power to the wheels, which can cause even more tire slippage and eventually lead to differential failure.
Kicking Ice & Sludge To The Curb
You may just do it without thinking but kicking ice and sludge off your car's bumper, fender and doors can cause cracks or damage to plastic moldings. Think about it this way. When the temperature gets below freezing plastic can become very brittle.
So if you're tempted to kick your bumper, Don't. It could easily crack and need to be replaced. The same goes for plastic moldings and door handles. If possible wait for warmer temperatures, spray it off with a high pressure water nozzle at a car wash or just gently use a soft bristle brush.