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Regular preventative maintenance will keep your car operating optimally and prolong its life. However, keeping up to date with maintenance is easier said than done. To help you prioritize and plan, here is a list of the top car maintenance mistakes owners typically make and how to avoid them.

Ignoring the Check Engine Light

Occasionally your car’s Check Engine light illuminates despite no obvious signs of trouble. If there isn’t a convenient time to have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic, the tendency is to continue driving without having it checked. Driving with possible engine problems, however, can quickly lead to larger, more expensive issues down the road. If your check engine light comes on, have your car checked by one of our ASE-certified technicians quickly and save money in the long run.

Driving with an Overheating Engine

Your car’s engine gets very hot while it is running, so it requires a cooling system to avoid overheating. Sometimes that cooling system can fail to do its job. If your engine begins overheating, stop immediately, turn off the ignition, and call for a tow. Driving with an overheating engine can lead to the need for extensive and expensive repairs. Stop by your local Pep Boys to speak with our certified technicians about repair options.

Not Checking Tire Pressure

It is nearly impossible to accurately gauge your car’s tire pressure from looks alone. Even when tires appear properly inflated, air pressure may still be high or low. Weather, pot holes, debris, and other factors can change the pressure of your car’s tires. Improperly inflated tires decrease fuel economy, and more importantly make your car less safe, as they change the way it handles and are more prone to blowouts. You should use a tire gauge to check your air pressure regularly. If your car’s tires are routinely losing air pressure, stop by your local Pep Boys where our technicians can diagnose and resolve your problem quickly.

Ignoring your TPMS Light

Your Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) light serves as a warning system for when one or more of your tires is deflated below what is considered safe by the vehicle’s manufacturer. If this light comes on while you are driving, pull over somewhere safe and verify whether your tire is losing air. Underinflated tires can cause a host of issues and are prone to blowouts, so add air when you can and have a Pep Boys certified technician check the tire to see if it can be fixed or will need to be replaced. Sometimes your TPMS malfunctions and needs replaced. If you believe your TPMS light is faulty, your local Pep Boys offers a Free TPMS check-up..

Not Rotating Tires/Neglecting to get A Wheel Alignment

It’s easy to forget about having your tires rotated because it isn’t something that needs to be done often. Same thing goes for having your car wheels aligned, as misalignment can be unnoticeable. Misaligned and/or unrotated tires can cause multiple issues, such as uneven treadwear. Pep Boys will check your car’s alignment for free and let you know if it needs serviced. As for tire rotation, most manufacturers recommend having it done every 5,000-10,000 miles.

Skipping Oil Changes

Depending on the recommendations of your vehicle’s manufacturer, it may no longer be necessary to get an oil change every 3,000 miles. While this means spending less time and money with the mechanic, it doesn’t mean oil changes can be skipped. To be effective, motor oil can’t be too old because it will break down. This can lead to sludge deposits in your engine, which can damage parts. Having your oil changed regularly will help maximize the life of your engine.

Neglecting Fluid Checks

It’s a common misconception that motor oil is the only fluid in the car that needs to be checked and changed. It’s true that motor oil is one of the more critical fluids in your vehicle but there are many other fluids in the car that should be checked, exchanged, and/or topped off. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, engine coolant, and power steering fluid should all be checked and serviced as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Doing this helps to avoid leaks and keep your vehicle operating properly.

Not Inspecting the Brakes

Brakes are arguably the most important part of your car. Unfortunately, they sometimes get overlooked by car owners, even if they are emitting the squeaking noise that typically accompanies worn down brake pads. If you hear a squealing or grinding noise when you brake, have your brake system evaluated as soon as possible.

Not changing your Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers degrade with time and use, and as a result, they can leave streaks on your windshield. Rain, snow, and other precipitation can severely cut down on your ability to see the road and other vehicles clearly, so changing your wipers when they wear out is very important. Take the wiper blade challenge to determine whether it’s time to replace your windshield wipers.

Using Home Glass Cleaner to Clean your Rear Windshield

Most home glass cleaners use ammonia as their chief cleaning agent. Ammonia can break down the heating elements in your rear window—those thin red lines, which are small wires used for defrosting. Instead, use window cleaner designed for automotive glass.

Your car is an investment, not only monetarily but also for your safety. While it’s not fun to spend time worrying about maintenance, keeping your car in the best possible condition will not only save you money by helping prevent more expensive problems, you’ll be safer as well. For all your maintenance needs, bring your vehicle over to Pep Boys—we’ll give you top notch service you can rely on.