Shahe KoulloukianLet’s face it, if you’ve been a driver for a while, you undoubtedly had to take your car to a service center for repairs, some of which may have been costly. Vehicle owners must be diligent. These expensive repairs go well beyond routine auto maintenance and are frequently the result of bad habits that the driver may not even be aware of. Yes, we all do it in one way or another, but over time, we tend to be unaware of it until we have to pay for the damage.
Be diligent. Here are some common car ownership behaviors that you should be avoiding to prolong the life of your vehicle.

You Can Ignore Your Pesky Neighbor but Not Your Car

Being overdue for service by date or mileage now and then is not a big deal. Skipping oil changes and routine maintenance intervals all together is one of the most common causes for internal engine damage and excessive carbon build up. This is what can and will domino into engine damage, not to mention performance and fuel economy.
Newer vehicle also has intervals for inspections of tire rotations, filters, fluid service and filters. The vehicle manufacturers have them in place for a reason, to keep the longevity of your vehicle engine, transmission and performance. Do your best to stay on top of those service intervals by following your owner’s manual maintenance log. It’s usually located in the same folder as your owner manual book.

Get Your Hearing Checked

We are creatures of habit and when we generally get into our vehicles, we put on the a/c or heater, we set our music and volume, settle in with and drive away. This is not an issue, especially, if a vehicle is in tip-top shape, drivers shouldn’t hear any abnormal noises that would be make your concerned. But are you really listing?
Screeching, squealing, clunking, rattling, humming, chirping, grinding along with all the other zoo like noises that maybe there that you either cannot hear or are just ignoring. We are all in a hurry and we all have that fear of what will this cost me and how long will we be out of a car, so sometimes we just turn the radio up and ignore it.
Next thing you know, the squeak will become a grind, and the grind becomes a problem. A good rule of thumb is to consider any type of abnormal noise to be safety related. Better to be inconvenienced a few hours than be stuck with a car repair bill that you could have avoided.

The Nose, knows

The air freshener in your car does wonders to mask some unwanted body flatulent but now and then you may get a whiff of something very abnormal. Don’t ignore it, here’s a quick list of what those smell may mean
BURNING CARPET. This could mean the vehicle has an issue with brakes. Have them checked asap.
ROTTEN EGG SMELL. That’s a sign that your engine is running poorly due to a failing catalytic converter.
SWEET SYRUP. It’s not your grandmas’ pancakes! It’s a sign that your vehicle has a cooling system issue, either from overheating and or coolant leaking.
BURNING RUBBER. This use to mean something else back in the day when your got behind a Camaro or mustang. Now, it’s a sign that you may have issues with your drive belts and or hoses.
HOT OIL. No your not watching iron chef searing wagyu on a wok, it means you have some sort of oil leaking either from our engine, steering and or transmission.
THAT OLD GYM LOCKER. Anyone that is over the age of 30 has that smell engraved in their brains. When it comes to your car, it simply means there is mildew within you’re a/c system vents. Either the climate control condensation tube is clogged, or your cabin air filter is clogged or dirty.
Even if it goes away, it’s not going away forever, and no one knows your vehicle better than you. Get it check out asap and avoid serious damages or costly repairs

We Love Holiday Lights but Not on Your Dashboard

The number one light that invites every car owner to take a rush course at the university of google is the check engine light. Many drivers see a “check engine” light pop up on their dashboard and assume that if their car seems to be working fine, the light will eventually go away on its own and when it doesn’t, they pop into a parts store to get it “Diagnosed”.
Unfortunately, that’s not a diagnosis, that’s having your code read to provide the reader the information needed on what direction to start the diagnosis. Sometimes the internet can take the reader down a scary rabbit hole that is false. Other times it can provide a sense peace that everything is ok which can also be false.
However you decide to approach it, make sure you do is sooner than later. At minimum have it diagnosed by a professional with not only the right equipment but the proper experience. No “Google” required.

What’s Your Hurry, Cowboy?

Go, go, go is what most drivers are all about. Especially when dual family drivers are handling the kiddos to and from school and sports practices. Most parents are so wound up with distractions, the first thing they want to do is get out of the vehicle to get things done. That’s when we as drivers grab the shifter and start switching between gears when the vehicle is rolling into a stop. Before it’s fully stopped!
The vehicle is still settling in from its last state of transmission shift point. Not allowing the transmission to catch up with the engine can damage gears and shift levers.
This bad habit will wear out your transmission a lot faster than the thousands of miles you put on it. Just, Pause for a moment…. Smooth and controlled shifting from a full stop is the proper way. Take your time to shift in and out of gear, you’ll have plenty of time to be speed racer once you get moving.

That Old Saying Still Stands True, Get Out and Kick Your Tires.

Some drivers notice when the tire pressure light comes on but decide the tires look fine. Or they notice a tire is low but drive on it anyway. Driving on worn, underinflated or unbalanced tires will ruin the integrity of the tires. The first thing a car owner should learn is how to read tire wear.
Look for abnormal signs of outer edge wear or excessive wearing in the middle of the tire but not on the outer edges. Get to know the proper tire pressure by reading the sticker at your vehicle’s door jam, avoid following the pressure on the tires.
Though the TPMS light is convenient to see as a reminder that your tires are low, it can also be false due to a faulty sensor. So, get old school and get yourself a $3.00 tire gauge and get into the habit of checking your tire pressures, inspecting the tread wear and most importantly, find and place your tire purchase date receipt in your glovebox for easy referencing. No matter how good your tire treads are, any tire that is 5 years of older should be replaced for dry rotting to avoid dangerous blow outs.
Finally, get into the habit of having your alignment checked every 15,000 miles. All roads are not the same. Add in rough patches, potholes and aggressive speed bump driving, you’ve yourself a car that may need an alignment.

Ignoring manufacturers’ recall notices

Yes, your car is running fine, and you may think its bogus or a scam, and it maybe is. Before you go down that rabbit hole of fear, visit and check for any open recalls. Just type in your full vin number and voila, you’ll know if you have an open recall or not.
If you do, then call your local dealer and get it done. If you don’t have any open recalls, its time to put your feet up and smile knowing its only dangerous if you don’t know!

Do You Have VIP Parking

Most of us usually park in the same spot every day. We have our spot in our driveway and most have a certain spot at work or school. So, have you seen spots or mini puddles underneath your car?
Take a moment and revisit your parking spot and take a closer look. If you’re not sure it’s coming from your car, place a clean piece of carboard under it the night before and look at it in the morning. If you see your car creating tie dye artwork, it’s time to have a mechanic give it an inspection. Make sure to take note of what color it is and check your fluid/oil levels to make sure your not driving around with no oil.

B.Y.O.P is Good For D.Y.I

Sometimes—(well, most of the time) we fall into the internet trap through google and down eBay and up amazon. We think we’ll save money by purchasing our parts and then having the repair shop install it for us. You may save some money and It roughly equates to 10% from your parts purchase but it’s really not worth it and most repair shops won’t do it for liability reasons.
First, there’s no warranty, so if those brake pads are made out of non-reliable material, they can wear through in 10,000 miles versus 60,000 miles. Also, you don’t know where these parts are from. Professional repair shops reliably get parts from sources they trust and most all of them come with a parts and labor warranty for either 12 months or 12,000 miles against any manufacturing defects and depending on the parts sources, they can come with a 24 month or 24,000-mile nationwide warranty.
What’s more, you’ll probably end up bringing in the wrong parts which puts that shop into a time delay not only waiting for you to pick the parts back and return with the correct one but your vehicle is now tying up a lift that could be used for other vehicles.
Aside from the small money savings, It’s critical to allow a parts-and-labor service experience so that you’re protected in the end fully if something were to go wrong.

There is no such thing as the unknown when you gain confidence and overcome your fears