If you’re like most people, there’s a major difference in how you treat your car during the first year of ownership versus the fifth year. When they are new, we tend to take more care of our vehicles. But when they are even just a couple years old, we start cutting corners in that care. And those cut corners can cost us in a number of ways.
Here’s a list of some of the things we do, or don’t do, to our cars that will increase the cost of ownership – or worse.
1. Never Check Tire Pressure
Literally where the rubber meets the road, your tires need to be inflated to the correct pressure to ensure your car performs properly and safely. If not, you can significantly lower your gas mileage. Even worse, poorly inflated tires can reduce the handling ability of the car, which can make it more difficult to avoid a collision. If you’re lucky, that might just mean some auto body repair bills. But it could also affect the safety and health of you and your family.
2. Ignore the Oil Light
If you always wait until your oil light is on to change your oil, you are probably prematurely aging your engine. Low oil can cause higher running temperatures and less engine protection. An oil change is just about the simplest, least expensive preventative maintenance measure you can do.
3. Ignore Other Warning Lights
You know, like the “Check Engine Soon” light hat’s been on for two years. They are all an indication of something that isn’t right with your car. And some of them a particularly serious. If you see your “ABS” light, for example”, it means your ABS braking system is not working properly and you will not get the stopping power you expect in slippery conditions. Again, the best case scenario if that happens is you’ll suffer some auto body damage. And the worst case scenario is that you will hurt someone you love – or someone you don’t even know.
4. Always Towing at Capacity
Your car has a towing capacity rating. Some people feel that means there are no consequences to towing a trailer that meets that capacity for extended periods. Just like if lifted 200 pounds once, it doesn’t mean that you can do so constantly, when you force your car to tow at its capacity for extended periods, you’ll strain your engine, power train and brakes to the point where they will need maintenance and repair far more often.
5. Leave Your Car Dirty
Not only does it not look good, but when you neglect to wash your car, oil, brake dust, bird droppings and regular dirty and grime start wearing away at the paint finish which not only dulls the shine, it can lead to the early onset of rust.
Not only does it actually pay to show your car more respect, but it will be safer and more fun to drive too.