04-07-2014 07:00 AM
This 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:
- Putting off recommended or scheduled maintenance. Follow the guidelines in your owner's manual.
- Turning a blind eye to the "check engine" light. Ignoring it could lead to major engine failure.
- Not changing the oil or not having it changed on schedule. Engine components need proper lubrication to prevent damage.
- Not maintaining proper tire pressure. Riding on underinflated tires can wear them out quickly, requiring expensive replacements.
- Letting coolant, brake, transmission and other fluids fall too low. When reservoirs run dry, problems follow.
- Continuing to drive when your vehicle is overheating. That could turn a minor problem into an engine overhaul.
- Not replacing fuel and air filters. Dirty filters fail to stop the buildup of harmful gunk that hampers engine performance.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.