Six mistakes with your family’s cars

Six BIG Mistakes People (Guys) Make When it Comes to Their Families Cars

Ok, let’s open this can of worms…. Oh, and by the way, I am a Guy and not immune to doing stupid stuff. Been there… done that….got the T Shirt.

#1 Not listening to your Spouse, Child, or that little “Inner Voice” that says something doesn’t feel right or sound right. It is a foolish man that thinks that he can ignore when the person that drives that vehicle every day says that it is making a funny noise or doing something different that it has ever done before. Listen to them and then go out with them and try to duplicate the sound. There is something getting ready to happen, and it will usually cost you money. The quicker you can catch it, the less money it will usually cost you.

#2 This, is an offshoot of the one above. Not paying attention to the warning lights and buzzers on your dash. Your Check Engine light means there is something wrong. Sure, it could be something simple like a loose gas cap. But a flashing Check Engine light means you shouldn’t drive it because something bad is going to happen. And there is the Tire Pressure light. We all know that a low tire can get ugly fast. The theme here is that these lights mean something needs attention. Ignoring it costs time and money.

#3 Not keeping track of the family “fleet” of vehicles maintenance. Newer cars don’t require as much as older ones did, but if you miss an oil change, it can be catastrophic. I always made the driver of each vehicle responsible for what they drive. I showed them what needed to be done and when. It was up to them to track me down and make sure I took care of it. One cool thing I did was I used Synthetic Oil and changed it at 5000 miles. I know it is early for full synthetic, but just in case I missed an oil change, (happened once) I had an insurance policy of sorts. It was worth the extra few dollars to me, because when I did miss the oil change, the oil was still doing its job and no damage was done. The biggest issue is if your car uses (consumes) oil, it can run low enough to damage things in 5,000 miles. You should check it every month.

#4 Not paying attention to the maintenance schedules for each vehicle. You shouldn’t do the things you “think” should be done and go with that. You could be replacing something you shouldn’t and not replacing something you should. I figure the folks that built it should know what it takes to keep it running. Following your manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule not only keeps your vehicles running, it helps maintain their resale value. Doing this will also keep you from voiding your original warranty and any extended warranty you may have purchased.  When the car gets near 60,000 miles, check to see if it needs anything important like a timing belt. Some need them and failure to change them can kill an engine. Keep the receipts.

#5 Not watching for premature or uneven tire wear. This also goes back to watching tire pressures. Cars with the tire pressure monitor systems (TPMS) make it easier, but those lights don’t come on until the tire is pretty low. If you wait until then, you can damage the tire by running it too low on pressure. Get the correct tire pressure for your vehicle off the placard on the driver’s side door post or the owner’s manual. NEVER use the maximum pressure listed on the tire. I would rotate the tires every oil change. Tires are porous and lose air, so check the pressures every month.

#6 Not keeping it clean. Just like your Mother told you. Keep it clean! Wash your vehicle every couple of weeks and I would wax the vehicle at least three times a year. And, unless you are handicapped or have some crazy excuse, do it yourself. Driving it thru a carwash isn’t good enough to protect the paint. Get under a shade tree and put a good coat of old fashioned past wax on your paint. Hey, it can be a family affair. A ruined paint job kills the value of a vehicle.

Here is a plan for your Saturday morning: Get the car or truck, tune your radio to Lets Talk Wheels and get all of your car chores done!

Hope this helps!