Top 15 Common Mistakes Car Owners Make

Many car owners do mistakes that they are not aware of. I mean, some kids get a brand new car when they are 16 years of age, of course they will do some mistakes. Here are the most common 15 mistakes car owners make:
  1. Starting The Car Engine And Driving Immediately
  2. Speeding With A Cold Engine
  3. Re-Fueling Mistakes
  4. Changing The Oil Too Often Or Too Little
  5. Too Lazy To Do Visual Inspection
  6. Not Checking Tire Pressure
  7. Driving With Bald Tires
  8. Not Checking Their Spare Tire Condition
  9. They Don’t Study Their Car
  10. Too Lazy To Clean Their Car
  11. Ignoring The Check Engine Light
  12. Driving With Old Fuel And Air Filters
  13. Maintaining Their High-Tech Vehicles
  14. Buying Cheap Parts
  15. Buying Expensive Cars And Not Maintaining Them
I will admit, I did 10 of the 15 mistakes. My dad bought me a used car when I was 16 and told me to only worry about the fuel. So, that’s what I did. I only put fuel in the car. I wasn’t really paying too much attention to the service light to check the engine, oil, I didn’t check my tires. Heck, I even washed the car once a month. My dad thought he was helping me, but the truth is he did the opposite. I had to learn all the basic stuff when I got my brand new car at 25 years of age. Let’s get started.

#1 Starting The Car Engine And Driving Immediately

Some people are just impatient, some just think that this doesn’t do any damage. They just sit in the car and start right away. Sometimes you park your car in the sun, and your car gets super hot. All you want to do is just sit in the car, open the windows and start driving so that cool air can flow in. This might help you, but it won’t help your engine for sure. What I do is, I start my car, turn on the AC and I get out of the car and wait in the shade for 30-60 seconds. Why do you need to wait for 30-60 seconds? Well, when you start your car, the oil starts going through the engine and into the critical components. If you start your car and start driving right away, you are not allowing your engine oil to circulate to all the components. Even though this will not make damage right away, it may cause some damage to the engine and the critical components over time. The waiting time depends on your vehicle and the weather. If you have a car older than 20 years, you should wait a full minute. If your car is not older than 5 years, waiting for 10-15 seconds is enough. Also if it’s freezing cold outside, leave your car to run a little bit. A great tip on how to know when to start driving is when the RPMs drop down. When I start my car, the RPMs go above 1200, and after a minute, they drop below 1000 and I know I can start driving.

#2 Speeding With A Cold Engine

I cannot stress it enough. This is very bad for your engine. First, cold or warm engine, you shouldn’t speed your vehicle or rev the engine it IF IT’S NOT DESIGNED TO TAKE IT. What I mean by this is your 1980 Suburban is probably not designed to be ‘reved’ or to be driven 100mph’s everytime you get on the highway. However, if you have a NASCAR, then you can drive it as fast as it goes. Why is it bad? Well, your car has been sitting in the garage over the night and all the engine drained from the top of the engine parts. When you start your car, the oil tries to get into all the critical components. Not allowing it to reach it’s destination and speeding with a cold engine will do some damage over time. Also driving your car with high speed will increase your gas mileage. If you are having an emergency, then do what you have to do. But if you are not in a hurry, wait until the engine reaches its optimal temperature.

#3 Re-Fueling Mistakes

You should know if your car needs regular fuel or premium. How do you know this? Well, it says in the car manual and there is a sticker on the fuel tank cap. On my car, it says premium recommended, so I only put premium. If your car needs regular, and you put in premium, you are not helping your car. There is no performance benefit or better fuel economy. Now, what happens if you put diesel instead of gas? This is a whole different story. When you get a new car, you need to know which fuel it needs. Putting premium instead of regular won’t do as much damage as putting gas instead of diesel. If you got a new car, and it was a gift, make sure you ask about the fuel type before driving it to the gas station and making this critical error. Also, on some old gas stations, the labels are worn out and it is impossible to read if that pump is for diesel or gas. If you make this kind of mistake, stop driving your car. Push it to the side of the road and call a towing company. What you need to do is drain the fuel tank and fuel lines, rails, and injectors. You obviously cannot do this on the highway.

#4 Changing The Oil Too Often Or Too Little

Some people change their oil every 3000 miles, some change it after 20,000 miles. There is nothing wrong with changing your oil too often, but it is not necessary. You will just waste your money. I have been changing the oil on all of my cars at 5,000 miles and I have never had an issue with the engine or the oil levels. And then there are the people that change it on 20,000 miles. Why is it important to change the oil on time? Engine oil acts as a lubrication. All of the moving parts in the engine need to be lubricated in order to work properly. You need to check the owner’s manual and see which type of oil your car needs. Also, the oil cools the engine components. How? Well, all those moving parts create friction and heat up if not lubricated properly. It also removes engine wear particles and dirt.

#5 Too Lazy To Do Visual Inspection

People don’t inspect their car often enough. It’s important that you inspect your car because you’re driving every day. You can’t just take it for granted that your tires aren’t flat, that your oil is correct, that you have enough coolant, and that you have enough windshield wiper fluid. What you should do is when you’re in a parking lot instead of going right to your car, go take a walk around it real quick. Check all four tires, turn your lights on, turn your flashers on, make sure your blinkers are working, make sure your headlights are working, make sure your taillights are working. It’s a quick thing and will prevent you from getting a ticket and it could save your life. If some your flashers or headlights are not working, it’s an easy fix which you could do it on the spot.

#6 Not Checking Tire Pressure

You want to make sure you don’t overinflate, and you want to make sure you don’t underinflate. Tire pressure for your car is located on the inside door jamb of the driver’s side. If you are not sure how to check the tire pressure, here is how:
  1. All vehicle manufacturers specify how much PSI(pounds per square inch) of pressure the tires need. It is best to measure it when your tires are cold.
  2. Measure the PSI with a pressure gauge. Press down the gauge to the valve stem until you get a reading.
  3. Write down the PSI for all 4 tires.
  4. Deflate the tires that have more than the recommended PSi, and inflate the ones that have under the recommended PSI.

Ideally, you should check the pressure of your tires every month. It’s something that you can do in less than 5 minutes.

#7 Driving With Bald Tires

It’s important to look to see how much tread depth you have left. A cool way to find out if your tires are worn out or good to go is with a Quarter. Turn the quarter upside down and insert it between the grooves. If you can see Lincoln’s head, it’s bad. You don’t want to be anywhere below that, and it’s dangerous if you are. The other thing you want to look for is any cracks, any slashes, and gouges into the tire. The final thing is you want to look at the wear on the tire, is the inside of the tire. Sometimes the tires are not wearing out equally. The outside part of the tires might look brand new, but the inside part could be bald. Turn the steering wheel left or right til the end and check your tires. I know that the new tires are not very cheap, but you must change them.

#8 Not Checking Their Spare Tire Condition

I will admit. I even drove my car without having a spare tire. And when I finally got a spare tire, I never checked it. When you are checking your tire pressure, make sure to take a look at your spare tire. Perform a visual inspection and check the condition, check the tire pressure and the manufacture date. If your spare tire is older than 10 years, it’s time to get a new spare tire. Also, while you are at it, check the depth with a quarter. What good will it be if you have a flat or bald spare tire?

#9 They Don’t Study Their Car

Reading the owners manual is one of the most fundamental things when you get a car. It’s simple and takes two hours to read. Go through the whole book. You should know what every button does in your car and what every gauge means in your car. Also, every car is different, so if you’re driving one car and you move to another
you should know the difference between the two cars a mistake. If you are too lazy to read, open some videos on youtube. I am sure there are videos for your vehicle.

#10 Too Lazy To Clean Their Car

I wrote an article on how to properly wash your car. I will say it here also. Do not take your car to the car wash. It will damage your paint for sure. Instead, wash your car at home. You need as little as a water hose, bucket with soapy water and a microfiber towel. Park your car in the shade, spray it with some water, then soak your microfiber towel in the bucket with soapy water and wash your car. When you wash and dry your car, you could also apply wax. Apply the wax in circular motions and then wipe it off with a microfiber towel. Take the time and give your car the care it needs. When the time comes for you to sell your car, your car will be in a better condition because you took care of your car.

#11 Ignoring The Check Engine Light

You should check the dashboard from time to time and see if there are any lights, especially the check engine light. That light doesn’t only say that your engine has an issue. It can come on if you have a faulty oxygen sensor, faulty catalytic converter, faulty mass airflow sensor, or your gas cap is missing. Whatever the reason might be, you shouldn’t drive your car. That light doesn’t come on for nothing. You should take it to the mechanic and have it diagnosed. Performing a routine maintenance can prevent this light from coming on.

#12 Driving With Old Fuel And Air Filters

Car’s air and fuel filters are essential to the car.

Air filters lose their capacity over time and are not able to clean the bug bits, dirt, and pollution coming from the outside. When the air filter gets build up with dirt, it cannot filter the air and shards of debris go through the filter and damage the engine. So, make sure you change your air filter every 10,000-30,000 miles. It is a cheap and quick process.

Fuel filters don’t last forever as well. Their mission is to filter the fuel and keep the dirt and rust particles on themselves. The fuel from the gas stations is clean, but there are many ways to get a dirty fuel tank. When you open the fuel tank cap before you pump gas, dust might get inside the tank. Also, the paint from the fuel tank chips and creates debris. If your engine stalls, feels sluggish or hesitates, it’s time to change your fuel filter.

#13 Maintaining Their High-Tech Vehicles

It’s not a coincidence that this mistake is under number 13. This is actually very bad. High-tech vehicles are not like the old ones. With the older vehicles, you can do anything you want, and in the end, if the car doesn’t start, it doesn’t matter. You can take it to the mechanic and they will fix it. The parts are cheap and so is the labor. But on your high-tech car, you shouldn’t play a mechanic. You should take your new car to a routine maintenance checks. Especially if you have an electric vehicle. The only thing that you should do is to add more fluid for the wipers, check the tire pressure and maybe, but maybe change your oil (if you know what you are doing).

#14 Buying Cheap Or Used Parts

All of us want to fix our car and not spend a lot of money. But does cheaper means better? Of course not. You might pay $50 for a ‘used’ part, instead of a $100 for the brand new, but will it last long and perform as good as the brand new? Trust me, you will end up changing the part again and spending more money. Always buy new parts and from official part stores.

#15 Buying Expensive Cars And Not Maintaining Them

I had a friend that made this mistake. His budget was $15,000. Guess what he did. He went and bought a car for $15,000. He ended up with not having enough money to change the engine oil, buy new tires and do a general check-up at the mechanic store. I strongly recommend that you leave at least $1000 aside and change the engine oil, air, and fuel filters, add coolant if needed and replace the tires. If your car requires some visual fixing, like chipped paint, it can wait. Make sure you invest in the engine first.

That’s it. These are the most 15 common mistakes that car owners do. Please be honest and write in the comments, did you make any of the 15 mistakes? Also, if you have done another mistake, feel free to mention it in the comments. Your mistake might teach another person.

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