Taking the time to maintain your car is a good sign. It shows a dedication to getting the best possible performance form you car and to keep it running safely and smoothly.
But sometimes – whether it’s through a simple oversight or complete motoring ignorance – a DIY car maintenance check can do more harm than good…
Find out more about the simple maintenance mistakes that could end up costing you a lot of money down the line.
1. Attempting a ‘tune-up’
Modern cars aren’t like old cars. They really aren’t designed to be ‘tuned’ or altered. In fact, ‘tune-ups’ as we know them don’t really exist anymore.
A lot of what’s inside the engine is now controlled my computerised technology, which means no more playing around with the ignition timing or adjusting the valves.
Tune-ups have been replaced by routine car maintenance, and modern engines only require major services every 100,000 miles or so.
2. Not checking the oil
Checking oil levels in your car is extremely important. Thankfully, it also happens to be very simple.
Low oil could cause engine corrosion, and the friction of moving parts can cause the engine to overheat, so you should check levels regularly.
Don’t inspect the oil only when the warning light comes one – by this point it could be too late to prevent any damage.
It also bears mentioning that your warranty won’t cover any damage caused by low engine levels.
3. Using the wrong type of oil
Failing to use the recommended type of oil can cause an engine to fail much sooner than you anticipate.
Avoid unnecessary engine wear and tear by choosing an oil with the correct viscosity. It’ll provide the optimal level of engine lubrication, and will prevent the engine from overheating.
Just remember that the temperature will affect your choice of oil viscosity, and if you’re in any doubt over which to use, you should consult your owner’s manual.
4. Only checking the oil…
Remember that engine performance doesn’t depend solely on the oil. A functioning engine also requires coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
It might seem like a lot of work, but failing to pay attention to the fluids which are vital to your engine’s operation could be a costly mistake.
You won’t need to check these fluids quite as often as you should the oil, but it’s important that you don’t neglect them.
5. Not changing or cleaning the air filters
Clogged air filters are directly related to the performance of your car. So failing to replace them will have noticeable effects on drivability and fuel economy.
A new, well-functioning filter will look close to white, so take a look and see how your filters compare.
Checking the colour will give you some indication of the level of neglect, but it shouldn’t be seen as an accurate test. A filter can become clogged with fine particles that aren’t easily seen, like pollen, so regardless of colour, you should replace them regularly, every 15,000 miles or so.