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10 Worst Auto Maintenance Mistakes

car safety

Content provided courtesy of USAA.

The cost of procrastinating usually far outweighs the expense of following your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule, according to CarMD.com, a provider of auto maintenance diagnostic products. The company surveyed a group of master mechanics for the top 10 common auto maintenance mistakes that can cause the costliest damage to vehicles: 

  1. Putting off recommended or scheduled maintenance. Follow the guidelines in your owner's manual.
  2. Turning a blind eye to the "check engine" light. Ignoring it could lead to major engine failure.
  3. Not changing the oil or not having it changed on schedule. Engine components need proper lubrication to prevent damage.
  4. Not maintaining proper tire pressure. Riding on underinflated tires can wear them out quickly, requiring expensive replacements.
  5. Letting coolant, brake, transmission and other fluids fall too low. When reservoirs run dry, problems follow.
  6. Continuing to drive when your vehicle is overheating. That could turn a minor problem into an engine overhaul.
  7. Not replacing fuel and air filters. Dirty filters fail to stop the buildup of harmful gunk that hampers engine performance.
  8. Taking your vehicle to an unqualified shop. Find a repair shop through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Once you've narrowed the list, search the Better Business Bureau website for the shops' ratings and reviews.
  9. Using inferior or incorrect parts for your vehicle. Be especially wary of extremely inexpensive off-brand parts, as they might lack the durability of ones from your auto manufacturer.
  10. Trying to do difficult repairs on your high-tech vehicle yourself. Unless you're a trained mechanic, leave complex engine or electronic work to the pros.

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