Common Things People Do That Can Ruin Their Car


Many people do things that can ruin their car without even realizing that they may be causing damage to various components and shortening the life of the vehicle. Here are some common things that people do, which can result in a ruined car.

People don’t change the engine oil at regular intervals.

It’s very important to keep on schedule with changing your engine’s oil. Most manufacturers recommend changing the oil every 5000 miles or 3000 miles for vehicles that are subjected to harsh conditions (extended idling, dusty climate, trailer towing, etc.). When you neglect to change your oil at the scheduled service interval, the oil begins to break down and loses its ability to properly lubricate internal engine components, which can lead to a variety of expensive engine problems.

People never open the hood and check the fluids.

Engine Oil
If you have an older model car that tends to leak or consume oil, the oil level needs to be checked at regular intervals to ensure the proper oil level is maintained. The owner manual shows the location of the “oil dipstick” and “oil fill” cap. Detailed instructions for checking and filling the oil are also found in the owner manual.

Transmission/Power Steering/Brake Fluid
Most people never check their transmission, power steering or brake fluid until they begin experiencing problems with one of these functions. At this point damage may have already been done, potentially leading to expensive car repairs. For example; low fluid in the transmission or power steering system may cause them to overheat damaging internal components in these systems. Low brake fluid may result in poor or no braking. Just like checking and filling the engine oil, fluid checking and filling for these systems can be found in the owner manual. These systems all have reservoirs that show the proper fluid level using “hash” marks or fill lines on the dipstick or side of the reservoir for that component. Always use the proper fluid in each system, never substitute another fluid for the proper fluid, which is listed in the owner manual under “Specifications”.

Engine Coolant
The same goes for engine coolant, another fluid level that is neglected. Low engine coolant can result in your engine overheating potentially damaging internal engine components. In the winter low coolant level is one of the most common reasons that no heat comes from your heating system. The heating system requires a full engine coolant system to properly generate heat for the climate control system (passenger heating). All modern cars have an engine coolant reservoir under the hood. The engine coolant level can be seen through the sides of the reservoir, which is marked with “cold” and “hot” fill lines on the side. Extreme caution should be used when removing the engine coolant reservoir cap since potentially hot coolant can burn. NEVER remove the engine radiator cap (radiator is located in front of the engine and can be identified by the fins that run across the radiator). Again proper procedures for checking and filling the engine coolant reservoir can be found in the owner manual along with the type of engine coolant that should be used for your car.

People never check the car tire(s) air pressure

Most people never think twice about checking the car tire pressure. If the tire pressure is too low the tread on the tire will wear quicker than a properly inflated tire. Handling and braking will also be adversely effected by to low of a tire pressure. Proper tire inflation pressures can be found on the sidewall of the tire and are listed in both PSI (pounds per square inch) and kPa (kilopascals). The number listed for PSI is the number to use when inflating a tire. All that is required to inflate a tire is a tire gauge to check the PSI and compressed air found at most fill stations to fill the tire. The owner manual also gives the proper inflation pressure for tires, but it’s best to use the pressure (PSI) listed on the side of the tire.

People usually ignore creeks, rattles and unusual car sounds

Creeks, rattles and any “unusual” noise(s) may or may not be a sign of a potential car problem. If you notice a peculiar noise coming from your car, try to locate the origin of the noise and have an experienced mechanic inspect the area for any problems. Some of the most common noises come from worn brakes, worn or loose suspension parts, loose parts under the hood or worn accessory belts. All these items should be inspected and repaired if necessary before they fail, potentially causing even more expensive repairs.

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