Safety Tip: 12 Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid
VIDEO: 7 Steps to Check Oil
A commitment to preventive maintenance is crucial for driver safety. According to Pep Boys, 12 of the most common maintenance mistakes that drivers make are:
- Ignoring the check-engine light. The longer you wait, the higher the repair costs could become.
- Not checking the tire pressure regularly. Even when tires appear properly inflated, they could be low.
- Ignoring the tire pressure monitoring system light when it’s activated. The TPMS serves as a warning system when a tire — or multiple tires — is deflated beyond what’s considered safe by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
- Skipping oil changes. Regular oil changes help ensure a long engine life. (To learn how to check the oil, click on the photo or link below the headline to view a video on the subject.)
- Neglecting fluid checks. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, engine coolant and power steering fluid should all be checked and serviced according to manufacturer recommendations.
- Still driving when the engine overheats. When the cooling system fails, the vehicle needs to be stopped immediately. The best course of action is to turn the vehicle off and call for a tow.
- Not using filters as recommended by the manufacturer. Clean filters protect the vehicle’s fuel, engine and air conditioning systems from dirt particles and other contaminants.
- Not having the brakes inspected at the first sign of trouble. If you hear squealing or grinding noises, the brake system needs to be evaluated as soon as possible.
- Not rotating tires and failing to get a wheel alignment. These maintenance needs can be easy to overlook, but such neglect can be costly and potentially dangerous. Check the owner’s manual for how often to rotate the tires.
- Servicing the Vehicle Yourself Without the Proper Know-How. Leave repairs to qualified technicians with the right tools, knowledge and diagnostic equipment. (A fleet vehicle isn’t a hobbyist's DIY project — restrict that to personal vehicles.)
- Not changing the windshield wipers. Windshield wipers degrade over time, leaving streaks that can diminish your ability to see the road and other vehicles clearly.
- Using home glass cleaner with ammonia on the rear windshield. Over time, ammonia will break down the heating elements in the rear windshield.