All cars are not created equal
In your parents’ or grandparents’ day, all cars were created equal—or fairly equal. Oil needed to be changed every 3,000 miles—and everyone used basically the same type. That was just one example of the many ways car maintenance was standardized among all vehicles. Today, there are as many different maintenance guidelines as there are types of cars. The good news is that auto engineering has advanced to such a degree that car maintenance is easier than ever. The bad news: Many car owners still follow the old guidelines, wasting time and cash—and perhaps even damaging their cars. Jumpstart your knowledge, save money, and avoid engine damage by reviewing these common missteps shared by Ben Perricone, territory manager, AAA Mid-Atlantic, headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.
Ignoring your car’s specifics
A car built in 1985 is going to have different maintenance requirements than one built in 2015. Don’t guess or assume details about your car, and don’t blindly accept a mechanic’s recommendations. Make sure you know your car’s year, make, and model, and keep the owners’ manual handy. It has all the information you need to properly maintain your vehicle. Reviewing it will save you hundreds of dollars in maintenance missteps and fuel. To save even more, find out the secrets your car mechanic won’t tell you.
Agreeing to tune-ups
“Cars haven’t needed tune-ups in 20 years,” says Perricone. Older cars needed tune-ups every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Now, computers, the brains that operate modern cars, have erased the need for such tune-ups. Before you agree to one, find out the specifics of what will be done. Changing spark plugs and oil filters are routine maintenance steps that may be classified as “tune-ups” when they really shouldn’t be. So ask questions—and check your owners’ manual. Remember, older cars are the ones that may need more traditional “tune-ups.” If you ultimately decide to get a new vehicle, learn the car safety features to keep in mind when you’re car shopping.