Today we are highlighting the top 10 stupid mistakes car owners make which become expensive or life-threatening. Cars have come a long way to be what they currently are. Modern cars are the best things that ever happened to the transport sector. Not only are they safer, but they also facilitate the movement of people and goods better than before.
Modern cars are capable of traveling extremely long distances without incurring any mechanical problem. Some have been tuned to tackle the hardest of terrain during man’s expedition to conquer dry land.
Despite the convenience that modern cars bring, car owners ought to faithfully follow the maintenance schedules and take note of some of the common mistakes that can be expensive or dangerous.
Almost every car owner knows that following a scheduled maintenance plan is cheaper than paying for expensive repairs ones your car fails completely. But even with the information, some car owners still manage to take chances with their vehicles.
So, which bad decisions, common mistakes or missed maintenance items can inflict major damage of your car? We get our opinion from one of the most valued mechanics on the stupid mistakes car owners make that become expensive mistakes.
10 stupid mistakes car owners make
- Not following the scheduled maintenance plan
- Ignoring the “check engine” light
- Failing to change engine oil in time
- Not checking the tire pressure
- Failing to change air and fuel filters
- Assuming brake, transmission and coolant fluid services
- Continuing to drive while the car is overheated
- Going for cheap unqualified mechanics to service your car
- Trying to service or repair a car on your own
- Buying cheap parts for your vehicle
Not following the scheduled maintenance plan
A survey by one motoring company called CarMD showed that car owners today know very little or nothing about the cars that they drive on a daily basis. The survey also showed that most people thought after buying a car the only liability henceforth would be paying for insurance and paying for gas.
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Most people have no interest in knowing all the moving parts and avionics that helps their cars to move. For this reason, most car owners make the mistake of not following a scheduled maintenance plan. Failure to service your car regularly can lead to serious mechanical problems that could be way too expensive or dangerous.
2. Ignoring the “check engine” light
Check engine light is an often overlooked feature that most car owners don’t take note of. However, assuming this repair can significantly escalate your repair budget. In most cases, the check engine light will light up due to a faulty Oxygen sensor but before you assume it is the sensor, go to the mechanic and have your engine diagnosed.
To put it into perspective for you, the check engine light may be an indicator of a failing Oxygen sensor. The reason for sensor failure is mainly due to a dirty air filter that has not been changed. It costs ($20) to change an air filter. If not changed, the Oxygen sensor will be defective and it costs $250 to repair a sensor.
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If you refuse to repair the sensor, and the air filter, dirty air start to enter the engine causing a substantial gas mileage reduction and vehicle misfire. At this point, the car will require a replacement on the damaged catalytic converter which will cost you over $1000. This is why it is very important to change your air filters regularly and take note of the warning signs.
3. Failing to change engine oil in time
This is by far the most common mistake that most car owners make. It is a mistake that you will wish you had not made ones your car runs into an engine problem and the only solution is to buy another car or pay a heavy price for your mistake.
Modern engines are high tech performance engines which require clean oil to continue functioning well. Dirty oil can cause the camshaft actuators to freeze and cause the check engine light to illuminate.
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If the warning is ignored for long, failure of the actuators can cause total engine failure. However, by simply changing the oil as recommended by the manufacturer, you can keep your engine healthy and happy and spare your pocket some expensive repairs.
4. Not checking the tire pressure
One of the reasons why tires burst or wear before time is because of failing to pay attention to tire pressure directions by the manufacturer. Most people entrust the petrol station staff to refill their tires whilst they should do that themselves. Different cars require different tire pressure owing to their variances in weight and proportions.
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Overinflating a tire can lead to tire burst that can cause accidents on the highway. Not paying attention to the tire pressure could also mean you are frequenting the tire shop more often than you should be doing since wrong reading can accelerate wear and tear.
5. Failing to change air and fuel filters
As mentioned earlier, failing to change filters can lead to expensive mechanical problems and poor gas mileage. Changing filters is cheap but many people often overlook the importance of doing so. Do not be among the people who would wish they changed their filters as required by the manufacturer.
6. Assuming brake, transmission and coolant fluid services
A car depends on these very crucial fluids in order to perform various functions like stopping changing gears and cooling the engine. These fluids should be replenished ones they are depleted but most people do not understand their importance. Brake fluid does not get depleted but after a long time of use, it loses its integrity and may require to be changed.
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When the time comes, you should take your vehicle to an experienced mechanic who understands the fluids. Using the wrong fluid for the wrong purpose eg; using brake fluid as coolant can have catastrophic effects and call for replacement of entire car parts.
7. Continuing to drive while the car is overheated
Isn’t this common sense? but still, its one of the stupid mistakes care owners make. Engines heat up because as you can imagine, the primary work of an engine is to combust fuel which produces a lot of heat. However, manufacturers try to minimize overheating by cooling the engine with coolant fluid and oil.
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When these fluids are not performing their task, the engine can overheat and when the engine continues to be overworked when hot, it can easily knock or crack. It is a mistake made by most car owner oblivious of the expense it would bring on them.
8. Going for cheap unqualified mechanics to service your car
Most car owners who have taken their repair to roadside mechanics can confirm to you that it was the begging of their car problems. Unqualified mechanics can easily mess up with a vehicle’s electronics or parts which can lead to several other problems. If you value your car, make sure that it is serviced by qualified mechanics that are conversant with their work.
9. Trying to service or repair a car on your own
Some repairs like changing a flat tire can easily be done using a couple of tools. However, you should know when to quit! You cannot DIY every problem that your car runs into. When it comes to complex mechanical problems, leave it to the experts and do your job, Paying! Trying to service a car on your own can lead to fatal accidents or expensive damage on your car.
10. Buying cheap parts for your vehicle
Expensive doesn’t always mean that something is of quality but they also said cheap is expensive, and when it comes to car parts, cheap is indeed very expensive. Cheap parts do not guarantee reliability and to make it worse, they seem to disappoint in the time of dire need. Imagine buying a cheap rim coz it looks nice only to hit a pothole and the next thing you know you are in a ditch or a hospital bed.
Sometimes buying cheap parts is like gambling with your life. You should invest in a genuine or original part for your car that is durable and reliable. With good parts comes greater peace of mind.
That is it for the most common stupid mistakes car owners make. We recommend that you follow the maintenance schedule given to you by the manufacturer to avoid expensive mistakes which can also be life-threatening.