Three Maintenance Mistakes For First Time Car Owners To Avoid

Taking care of your car helps ensure that it has a long life, but routine maintenance can be overwhelming if you are new to car ownership. Sometimes knowing what not to do is the most useful way to avoid common mistakes. The following are a few of these mistakes you should definitely work to avoid.

#1: Not keeping up with oil changes

A regular oil change is one of the most important things that you can do for your car, but it can be difficult to remember. The old rule of getting an oil change every 3,000 miles also no longer applies. Instead, each make and model tends to have its own recommendation, which can far surpass the 3,000 mile mark. Make a point of checking your manual to determine the recommended interval between oil changes, and then make note of it and check your mileage often. Some newer cars will even give you a dash warning when the time for an oil change is approaching – schedule one as soon as it appears so you don't forget.

#2: Skipping tire rotations

Rotating and balancing your tires may seem like a waste of time, especially if you spend most of your time driving on smooth, paved roads. Over time, though, hitting curbs or even small bumps in a road can throw your tires off balance or at least cause uneven wear. This results in a slight shimmy – you may not even feel it – that can damage axles, joints, and other components beneath the car. It's generally recommended to have your tires balanced and rotated yearly or at each oil change. You may want to do it more often if you drive in harsher conditions, such as after a particularly icy winter or if you spend a lot of time on unpaved roads.

#3: Ignoring air filter replacements

Combustion engines must draw in outside air to work, but this air is often filthy since it is full of dust, dirt, and pollen. This is why the air passes through a filter before entering your engine. Generally, this should be changed when you get an oil change, although sometimes it needs more frequent changes or cleanings if you drive on dirt roads a lot. Failure to do so will first negatively affect your gas mileage, then it will begin to clog your engine. It can also damage the oxygen sensor in your car, which can be an expensive repair.

For more help, contact an auto center like Don's Service Center.