Like the human body, ignoring even the smallest signs of trouble in your car's performance can lead to trouble down the road.
And some missed signals cost more than others.
A new report by CarMD.com, which is based on survey o f professional mechanics, details exactly which maintenance mistakes they say cause the most damage.
Here are the top 10:
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 generic aftermarket parts instead of original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-quality parts
10. Trying to service your own high-tech vehicle
The best example of the snowball effect of missed car repairs is the air filter. It costs about 20 bucks to replace, but if left alone, a dirty filter can bust oxygen (02) sensors in cars, which cost as much as $250 to replace. And when the sensor fails, you'll first see your gas mileage plunge, then possibly wind up with a $1,000 bill to replace your catalytic converter.
No. 3 deserves special attention, as well. Technicians say ignoring oil changes is the "single most damaging car maintenance item that their customers neglect that they wish they could change," according to CarMD.
The trouble with dirty oil is that it doesn't jibe well with the high-tech engines in today's modern vehicles, according to Art Jacobsen, CarMD vice president, and can lead to engine failure if left ignored for too long.
The old go-to rule for oil changes was to refresh every 3,000 miles. But most experts agree drivers should go by the schedule their car's manufacturer dictates instead.
"Frequent oil changes do not necessarily mean better performance or longer engine life," CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen told The Auto Channel.
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