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A Few Car Maintenance Don'ts

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

A Few Car Maintenance Don'ts

Levi Quinn
June 18, 2011

Here's a no-brainer: A car or truck of any variety is bound to be an enormously complex machine. It doesn't matter the make or the model; what matters is that automobiles are complicated and intricate, and therefore they require a great deal of knowledge and initiative in order to fully maintain them. In other words, you can't be a responsible car owner without knowing some of the do's of car maintenance—as in, do check your oil levels, do schedule routine service, and so forth. And just as important are the car maintenance don't's—those things you want to avoid at all cost in order to ensure that your car is running its best.

For instance: Don't make the mistake of thinking that regular washing and waxing are irrelevant, or that they are merely cosmetic. Actually, these acts are important parts of the maintenance cycle. Washing and waxing your car on a regular basis will help ward off any corrosion, and will ultimately extend the life of your vehicle.

Here's another one: Don't pretend like your engine light is irrelevant, and don't ignore it when it comes on. Contrary to what you may think, this light is not some ploy by the dealership to get you to bring your vehicle in for servicing. When the engine service light is ignited, it's because there is something wrong with your vehicle's engine. Often, it is a relatively minor thing that a mechanic can fix quickly—but if you ignore it, the problem could escalate, and the repairs could ultimately become far more costly and time-consuming.

And on a related note, here is, perhaps, the most important don't of them all: Whatever you do, don't neglect routine maintenance. Scheduling your car for a regular check-up at your local mechanic or dealership service center may seem inconvenient now, but be sure that it's ultimately a much better use of your time and money than waiting for your car to start falling apart. Routine service can prevent the need for costlier, more major repairs and replacements down the road.

With that said, here's one last don't, this one to help you save some money; don't take your car in for servicing when it isn't necessary. This may surprise you, but in reality, a lot of folks take their automobiles in for oil changes far more often than is necessary. There are a lot of myths about how often an oil change is truly necessary, but you can get the real scoop just by consulting your owner's manual.

The basic gist of all of these, of course, is simply that negligence will prove to be costly in the long run—so, if you want to keep your car on the road without shelling out big bucks, simply don't ignore regular, routine maintenance. Taking care of your automobile in the short-term will ultimately prove highly beneficial in the long run.

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