Don't fall victim to common maintenance mistakes

January 3, 2014 12:00 AM

Not every driver is familiar with all of the ins and outs of a vehicle. There are many areas of a car - such as what's under the hood - that may be unknown to owners, leaving motorists hesitant about conducting vehicle maintenance. Luckily, there are resources available for these drivers, which means there is no excuse for letting scheduled maintenance fall by the wayside. 

"Not following the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual is very common," Brian Hafer, vice president of marketing for, told Bankrate. "People have these repair issues because they don't consult their owner's manual. Typically, it happens more often with younger drivers because they just aren't aware." 

Here are three areas you should be aware of, even if it means having a professional at an auto repair franchise take care of the examination: 

Change the air filter
The air filter is an essential part of the engine system, but it often does not get the attention and care it deserves from car owners. If the filter gets blocked, airflow throughout the engine is restricted, which in turn reduces the performance of the motor. It has to work harder to get the same output, using up energy and fuel while also putting a car at risk for overheating. 

Brake repair
Brakes are important at any time of year, but especially during the winter, when slippery surfaces take hold across much of the country. Anytime there are squealing noises or rough stops, it may be a sign that it is time to get brake service. Brake pads can be easily replaced and are an integral part of safety, so there's no excuse for putting off this upgrade. 

Temperature control
There are a few areas of maintenance that are beyond your control - but that doesn't mean you are helpless when it comes to enhancing your car. For example, exposing a vehicle to extreme temperatures can wear down various systems within the automobile. Oppressive heat and freezing temperatures can each wreak havoc on different parts of a car, so it is important to prepare for each season.

Accessories such as an engine block heater and engine coolant are available to lessen the impact of extreme temperatures, but the most important quality may simply be awareness of the situation. Something as simple as knowing to allow an engine to warm up can prevent issues. 

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