- Don’t Get Gas Until You’re On Empty
Dirt and impurities settle in the bottom of your gas tank. If you drive until empty, your fuel pump has to work harder to dredge the tank, and your fuel filter has to work harder to strain these particles out. This can cause your pump and filter to fail which will earn you a costly trip to the shop. Do yourself a favor and fill up when you have a quarter tank left.
- Mixing oil grades
Suppose you notice that you’re running low on engine oil. You buy a quart from the store, or maybe you find a quart in your garage. The problem is you can’t remember if it’s the same type that’s in your car. Worse yet, it’s not the type listed in the manual. Mixing oil types and using the wrong grade of oil can have serious repercussions to your engine’s health. Always follow the manual.
- Adding water to your coolant system
Water cools things, right? Sorry, but your car really needs the specially designed coolant that won’t boil as easily. The hot days when your car needs coolant most are when the water you added will be least helpful. Some cars ask for a mix of coolant and water, but odds are they want distilled water, not that from the tap. Again, follow your manual.
- Buying the aftermarket part
Sometimes a part wears out and the technician gives you two options: an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part, or a less expensive aftermarket part. While you’re generally safer going with OEM, sometimes it’s possible to get a quality alternative. What you don’t want to do is go with a no-name brand that could easily cause more problems than it solves. Get thee to Google and read some reviews.
- Shifting to drive if moving backward
You back up, then shift into drive before your car has stopped = horrible idea. You do not want a busted transmission, believe us. For an extra two seconds, you could literally be saving thousands of dollars in an early transmission replacement. Completely stop all movement before shifting from reverse to drive.
- Ignoring the Check Engine Light
If you wait until you take it in next month to change the oil, you could be making a $10 problem a $100 problem, or more. Do the math: Is the $5 you’re saving by waiting a month on an oil change worth risking a $100+ repair? From a financial standpoint, you’re best off being aggressive with preventive maintenance.
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