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6 Things That Can Kill Your Car: Are You Missing One In Your Maintenance Plan?

6 Things That Can Kill Your Car: Are You Missing One In Your Maintenance Plan?

When you think of the word "maintenance," what comes to mind? Oil changes and oil filters, tires, maybe? All important things. But there are other things you should consider when planning your routine maintenance schedule.

There are additional, somewhat more forgotten parts of your car that need to be serviced and inspected just as often as the regular, run-of-the-mill parts.

1. Ignoring the Engine Oil Service Light

Your car’s engine oil service light is a safety feature that alerts drivers when they need to have their car's engine oil changed. But many people ignore this warning and keep driving, risking severe vehicle damage.

What happens if you ignore the service light?

If you ignore the service engine soon light, it won't go away on its own. In fact, it will remain lit until you take your vehicle in for some kind of maintenance or service. And then, when it's time for another oil change, there will be another service engine soon light coming on in just a few thousand miles or so.

That's because if you don't get your vehicle serviced when it needs it, components inside your engine can begin to wear down prematurely. Over time, this can cause significant damage to various parts of your vehicle's engine, including pistons and valves, which can lead to significant repairs later on down the road.

1. Skipping Oil Changes

Trying to save money by going too long between oil changes, or skipping them altogether, can damage your engine and, in extreme cases, cause it to seize up.

Your engine needs lubrication to keep moving parts from grinding against each other and causing damage. Oil also keeps the engine cool by trapping heat inside the engine. This keeps the temperature of the metal parts down, preventing them from melting or warping. A lack of oil would cause your engine to overheat and fail, but regular changes keep this from happening.

What are the consequences of skipping an oil change?

If you don't change your oil regularly, it can start to break down over time, especially if you drive a lot in stop-and-go traffic or run under heavy loads like hauling a trailer or towing a camper behind your car. This causes deposits (sludge) to form on top of the metal parts inside your engine and clog up passageways in your fuel pump system so that it can't pump properly anymore.

Thinking Premium Gas Is a Waste of Money

There's a common misconception that premium fuel is only for high-performance cars. The truth is, if your car was made to run on premium gasoline, you should use it.

The reason you should use premium gasoline is that it has an octane rating that is higher than regular unleaded fuel. The higher the number, the more pressure can be packed into each cylinder before detonating (which causes an explosion). The more pressure that can be packed in without detonating prematurely, the more powerful your engine will be without sacrificing its longevity.

If you're unsure whether your car requires premium fuel, check the owner's manual or ask your dealer. If you use regular gas in a vehicle that requires premium, your vehicle may not perform as expected and could suffer internal engine damage. What's more, using less expensive regular fuel can cost you more over time because you'll have to replace parts sooner than you should have.

1. Driving for Miles with Bad Oxygen Sensors

The oxygen sensor detects the amount of oxygen in exhaust gases and signals the engine computer to correct the fuel/air mixture if there is too much or too little oxygen.

What can happen if you drive with a bad oxygen sensor?

A bad oxygen sensor can cause problems like rough idle, rough shifting, and poor fuel economy. In extreme cases, it can even cause catalytic converter failure. If you hear clunking sounds or grinding noises coming from under there as you drive, it's time for some diagnostic work so you can find out which sensor has gone wrong and replace it before any further damage can be done.

1. Never Replacing Your Transmission Fluid

The Transmission fluid is responsible for maintaining proper lubrication and cooling inside the transmission. This fluid does a lot of work, so it gets dirty, contaminated, and burnt up over time. The best way to keep your car running smoothly is to regularly check the new fluid level and replace it as necessary.

When should you change the transmission fluid?

Your vehicle's owner's manual will tell you when to change your transmission fluid. It may be once a year or every 30,000 miles (48,000 km). If you don't follow this schedule and neglect to change the fluid on schedule, then the internal components can wear out prematurely and cause serious damage to your vehicle.

You could also experience severe problems like these:

  • The transmission will slip out of gear or grind when shifting gears
  • While accelerating, you may notice a burning smell from under the hood
  • Accelerating may produce a burning odor from under the hood of your vehicle
  • When you accelerate or decelerate, the vehicle may jerk for a few moments

1. Not Properly Inflating Tires

Tires aren't just for sticking to the road and making your car go faster. They're also an important safety feature, protecting you and your passengers from injury in the event of a collision.

If they're not inflated correctly, they won't work as well in an emergency. In fact, they might even fail completely, which could lead to a serious accident.

Properly inflated tires will:

  • Improved gas mileage by 3.3%
  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 327 pounds per year
  • Help prevent damage to wheels and suspension systems by reducing rolling resistance and enhancing cornering ability

What happens when you underinflate your tires?

If you drive with underinflated tires, you put yourself at risk for blowouts and tread separation. If this happens at high speeds or during hard braking, it could cause a serious accident or even death. Underinflated tires also reduce fuel economy by increasing rolling resistance on the road surface and reducing traction because there's less rubber touching the road when cornering or accelerating quickly.

Car Maintenance Is A Responsibility

Taking care of your car doesn't have to be a drag. Your car gets to experience all the rough and tough aspects of life, so it's important that you give it whatever it needs to keep up and avoid danger.

If you want to avoid car troubles, it's a great idea to do regular maintenance. Think about what can happen if you neglect your car's upkeep, and what could happen if these six things crop up.

Make sure you're always ClimaGuard ready! For more car safety tips, visit our blog site.