If you have teenagers who are old enough to drive you already know that their time is simply too valuable to spend doing things like putting gas in the tank, washing the car, or ("Dad, you can't be serious!") taking it in for an oil change.
Trying to get them to understand the need for regular automotive maintenance can be challenging. You might want to print what follows below and put it on the refrigerator, or, do what I did... wrap their phone in it.
Our friends at CarMD.com recently announced a list of the top 10 mistakes we make (in caring or not caring enough) that mechanics say do the most damage. These are things we sometimes do as do-it-yourselfers... and it also includes the true consequences of procrastination.
CarMD's team of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified Master Technicians, which has more than 840 years of combined experience repairing cars, came up with this list:
Top 10 maintenance mistakes car owners make when caring (or not caring) for their vehicles:
1. Putting off recommended / scheduled maintenance
2. Ignoring the “check engine” light
3. Not changing the oil, or not having it changed on time
4. Not checking tire pressure
5. Neglecting coolant, brake, transmission and other fluid services
6. Continuing to drive when the vehicle is overheating
7. Not changing fuel and air filters
8. Having unqualified shops service your vehicle
9. Using inferior or incorrect parts for your vehicle
10. Trying to service difficult repairs on your own high-tech vehicle
“When consumers fail to properly maintain their vehicles, the resulting repair costs dwarf the money that could have been budgeted to maintain their car,” said Art Jacobsen, vice president, CarMD.com Corporation. “As a result, we set out to capture a consensus among our Master Tech committee regarding the top 10 most damaging mistakes they have seen drivers make. We believe this information will help consumers prioritize and plan better as they maintain what is often their second largest purchase.”
No. 3 in the top 10, “not changing your oil” was also listed by technicians as by far the single most damaging car maintenance item that their customers neglect that they wish they could change. Dirty oil ruins today’s high-tech engines. Camshaft actuators can freeze when restricted by dirty oil, and a faulty camshaft actuator can in turn cause the “check engine” light to illuminate, resulting in complete engine failure if ignored for too long. Simply following the factory-recommended oil change schedule helps vehicle owners avoid this problem, along with potentially hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in extra repair costs.
While the top techs encourage their customers and all drivers to follow a regular maintenance program, they don’t want consumers to get lured into spending extra money on unnecessary items. According to CarMD’s Master Techs, the best rule of thumb is “any service other than what is recommended in your owner’s manual is unnecessary.” They recommend servicing your car according to factory requirements, but suggest avoiding gimmicks like injector flushes and nitrogen in the tires, which are a waste of money.
Share this with the ones who need to read it. With apologies for the mixed metaphor, that 'ounce of prevention' is worth it's weight in gold where your car is concerned!