7 Mistakes Car Owners Make
Owning a car is a big commitment, and investing in it will ensure it lasts as long as possible. Here are the seven most common mistakes car owners make that could affect the overall lifespan of your vehicle.
Misunderstanding your dashboard
There are a lot of different lights on your dashboard, and making sense of them can be tricky. A smart vehicle health monitor is another affordable, compact way to keep an eye on what's going on under your vehicle's hood. This particular model is designed to be easily installed — just plug it into your car’s OBD II port and it will send you real-time alerts about engine error codes, tire pressure, gas mileage and more, all through your own cell phone. It can help you identify any issue quickly, and you won't have to pay a diagnostic fee.
Neglecting your tires
Your tire pressure is crucial to driving safely and keeping your car in tip-top shape. First, find the correct pressure levels by looking in your vehicle owner's manual or by looking on the side of your door. Check your tire pressure regularly, because an underinflated — or overinflated — tire can lead to blowouts, flats and an overall lack of vehicle control. It can also lead to vehicle damage. A tire monitor is an affordable, easy-to-use way to make sure your tires are inflated to the correct, safe amount. This particular model will alert you in real time if it detects even small leaks of air.
Forgetting to replace your wiper blades
Your windshield wipers might seem like a secondary thought, but they're crucial to a well-functioning and safe vehicle. A bad pair can lead to low visibility in certain weather conditions and can actually destroy your windshield. Avoid costly glass replacements by replacing your wiper blades every six months, or whenever you see visible wear and tear.
Putting off an oil change
When it comes to car maintenance, changing your oil can make a huge difference. Engine oil keeps all the moving parts of your engine lubricated, clean, cool and protected. That being said, it gets dirty, grimy and needs regular changing to do its job well. First, check your owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's recommendations on how to best check the oil. The manual will let you know whether to check the oil when the engine is warm or cool, and where to find the dipstick to check (if your car comes with one).
With the car parked on level ground and with the engine off, open the hood and find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off from its end. Then insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in. Pull it back out, and this time look at both sides of the dipstick to check the oil level, the color and the consistency.
Keeping it dirty
Cleaning your car regularly will not only ensure you look good while driving it, but it'll also keep vital parts of your vehicle intact longer. A regular wash will remove harmful contaminants that can cause erosion, especially for those who drive on snowy roads regularly. Drive through your local car wash or grab a bucket and a sponge every few weeks to keep things running and looking smooth.
You're putting it through too much
Unfortunately, those quick trips to the grocery store down the street are taking a bigger toll on your vehicle than you'd think. To make your car last longer, you should consider driving less. That might seem like common sense, but most people aren't aware of how hard short, around-the-block drives are on cars. When you take super short road trips, your engine doesn't have enough time to warm properly, meaning the oil, water and gasoline congeal in your engine block instead of burning off into fumes.
You're not taking advantage of easy, modern upgrades
Driving an older car doesn't mean you have to give up the luxuries provided by a brand new vehicle. Take this GPS Car Charger, for example. By plugging it in, you'll immediately be able to charge your phone or other device twice as quickly as your friends. You'll also be able to find your car in a crowded parking lot, log your mileage and monitor your car's battery health. Simply adding in a few high-tech gadgets — or one good one — will make you feel right at home in the 21st century, even if your car was made in the 20th.
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