40 Ways You Could Be Damaging Your Car Every Day

Naturally, you want your car to last as long as possible. Your vehicle should safely get you from point A to point B, and it should be reliable enough to drive every single day of the year. You may think you’re doing everything correctly to keep it that way, but how true is that?

The primary key to proper vehicle maintenance is knowing what you may be doing wrong. Take a look at these 40 ways you could be damaging your car. How many of them are you guilty of doing?

Forgetting To Check The Fluids

When was the last time you’ve checked the oil level in your vehicle? Most automotive experts recommend checking the engine oil level every time you fill the car up at the gas station. Your vehicle requires an array of different fluids to run correctly, such as transmission fluid or engine coolant. Low fluid levels can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your car.

Fuel filling stations in Ryazan, Russia
Alexander RyuminTASS via Getty Images
Alexander RyuminTASS via Getty Images

While running out of washer fluid is nothing more than a mere inconvenience, forgetting to fill up engine oil can lead to costly damage to your vehicle. Don’t forget to check the fluids before driving next time.

Wrong Modifications

Car modifications are great. There are tons of aftermarket tuners that offer an arsenal of cosmetic enhancements to virtually any kind of car. While some custom modifications can improve the styling of your car, others can be way too overboard and can affect the value of the vehicle.

My Hello Kitty Mustang
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Adam Gray / Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Some modifications can hurt more than just the value of the vehicle, or the eyes of onlookers. Adding too much negative camber to the suspension could result in quickly wearing out the tires, for example.

Neglecting Small Dents And Scratches

A small scratch on one of the doors of your car may not be the end of the world, yet it should eventually be taken care of. The same goes for minor dents. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the worse the damage can get.

car dents
Unsplash/Erik Mclean
Unsplash/Erik Mclean

A neglected car will be harder to sell. Potential buyers avoid vehicles that are damaged. Not to mention losing the pride of ownership in your car when it is not taken care of.

Coasting on Automatic

Switching an automatic transmission into Neutral when going downhill is a surprisingly common occurrence among drivers. According to this myth, an automatic vehicle rolling downhill in Neutral will improve the fuel economy. This could not be further from the truth.

Cars on The Stelvio Pass in the Alps, Italy
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Tim Graham/Getty Images

In reality, switching to Neutral while driving means the engine can no longer be used to slow the vehicle down. What’s more, modern cars will actually use less fuel in Drive when going down a hill. Popping the vehicle back to Drive while moving causes the transmission components to be out of sync for a fraction of a second, shortening their lifespan.

Smoking In Your Car

Cars that have been smoked in are very easy to identify. As soon as you enter the cabin, you will be able to determine whether the driver is a smoker or not. The smell of smoke is nearly impossible to get rid of, especially on leather surfaces around the cabin of a car.

car smoke
Unsplash/Josh Kahen
Unsplash/Josh Kahen

If you’ve been smoking in your car, you might have a hard time selling it. Most non-smokers will be disgusted by the smell. Not to mention the possible cigarette burns around the cabin that are likely to appear in cars owned by smokers.

Driving With Little to No Fuel

Contrary to popular belief, driving with a fuel tank that’s nearly empty is not a good idea. According to a common car myth, it allows the particles built up on the bottom of the fuel tank to clear out via the fuel injector. Once again, this could not be further from the truth.

Petrol gauges
Lynne Cameron/PA Images via Getty Images
Lynne Cameron/PA Images via Getty Images

Driving with an empty fuel tank can actually damage the fuel pump in your vehicle, which relies on gas to be cooled and properly lubricated. What’s more, the supposed particles that will clear out of the tank are actually kept in there by the fuel filter.

Pumping The Wrong Type of Fuel

Sure, using premium fuel in a car that does not require it will only hurt your wallet. It won’t improve the performance of your vehicle, but it will not hurt it either.

Fuel pumps
Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

On the other hand, you may damage your vehicle if you pump regular fuel if the engine is tuned strictly for high-octane petrol. Of course, pumping diesel in a gasoline-powered car won’t have any positive effects either. If you’ve filled up your gas-powered car with diesel, call a tow truck immediately. Do not attempt to turn on the engine, as it could cause irreversible damage.

Using The Wrong Type Of Oil

Fuel isn’t the only liquid you have to look out for when maintaining your vehicle. There are tons of different types of engine oil, and it is absolutely essential to refill the car’s motor with the correct one. Pouring in the wrong type of engine oil can completely wreck the motor of the car, resulting in a long and expensive visit to your local workshop.

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

You can find the type of oil recommended for your engine in the owner’s manual. Be sure to get the same type when you’re getting the oil changed.

Not Washing It Enough

How often do you take your car to the car wash? Some drivers may be surprised to hear that a dirty car is more than just an unpleasant sight. Washing your car removes any toxic chemicals that may be causing corrosion to the bottom of your vehicle.

Fabrika car wash in Kazan, Russia
Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images
Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images

Frequently washing your car is an absolute must, especially during the winter. In winter, many roads are covered in salt, which can stick to the undercarriage of your car and cause it to rust. Most automated car washes are equipped with sprayers for the car’s undercarriage to ensure it stays clean.

Not Using The Handbrake in Park

If you simply leave your automatic car in park or a manual one engaged in gear, you could cause damage to the car’s transmission. Not using the handbrake when your car is parked on a hill adds a lot of stress to the vehicle’s transmission.

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Don Kelsen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Note that applying the handbrake, also referred to as the e-brake or the emergency brake in some cars, is not necessary when parked on a level surface. Moreover, the brake rotors might be damaged if the handbrake is applied when the brakes are hot.

Not Paying Attention to Recalls

Automakers make mistakes. Typically, a car manufacturer will recall a certain vehicle model if there are any factory issues with it. This can include anything from concerns about exhaust fumes all the way to faulty airbags.

1.3 Million Ford Explorers May Be Recalled Due To Exhaust Fume Problem
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Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ignoring a factory recall of your vehicle makes it nearly impossible to sell in the future. Car buyers often look at vehicle reports and are aware of any recalls to the particular model prior to buying it. At the end of the day, everyone wants to own a car that’s safe to drive.

Ignoring Warning Lights

Warning lights, as the name suggests, are designed to warn you about potential issues with your vehicle. You should not ignore any warning light that comes on in your vehicle. While a check engine light can come on frequently in an older automobile, it should never be ignored. A check engine light can signal anything from insignificant problems such as a loose gas cap all the way up to engine misfires.

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National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

What’s more, other warning lights such as a braking system error should be checked out as soon as possible. If any warning light comes on, it’s best to take care of it straight away.

Ignoring Leaks

While an illuminated check engine light may not always be caused by a major issue, colorful stains under your car can indicate a serious problem with one of its components. If you see any colorful fluids under your car, consider a trip to the mechanic.

Oil stain
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Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

Don’t forget that leaks are a sign of malfunctioning car components. It could be something as little as a broken line, but it’s best to get it checked out as soon as possible. Otherwise, ignoring leaks might lead to bigger issues with the engine.

Using Hot Water to Defrost The Windshield

Pouring a glass of hot water on an ice-cold windshield may seem like a great life hack at first. After all, this “trick” is still surprisingly common. Any driver who knows a thing or two about science will quickly question this seemingly helpful solution.

Rear window of a car on a frosty morning
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BuildPix/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Pouring hot water on a cold piece of glass, such as a windshield, can cause it to shatter completely. While it may be a spectacular sight to see on a cold morning, it is certainly not something you’d be happy to see. Scraping the window, although more time-consuming, is undoubtedly safer.

Leaving It Outside… A Lot

Leaving your car outside is perfectly fine, as long as you do not overdo it. It is absolutely best if you have access to a garage where your car can safely be stored between each trip. Leaving your car outdoors for extended periods of time can potentially cause lots of issues.

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Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A car left outdoors is exposed to all kinds of harsh weather conditions, such as snow or hail storms. What’s more, the clear coat on top of your car’s paint can be damaged by tree sap. Not to mention the increased chances of theft or vandalism.

Skipping Wheel Alignment

Whenever you replace the tires on your car, the tire change should be followed by properly aligning the wheels. Otherwise, you might end up ruining your car. Misalignment can lead to a whole array of issues, such as uneven tire wear or even damaging the drivetrain of your car.

Corona crisis makes tyre changes difficult
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Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Don’t forget that hitting potholes and curbs, or worn out suspension parts can potentially ruin the alignment of your wheels. It’s recommended to check the alignment of your wheels frequently before it’s too late.

Hitting Potholes

As obvious as it may seem, you should avoid potholes whenever it is possible. Contrary to popular belief, large cars such as SUVs can still be damaged by potholes. Driving over potholes, especially at high speeds, can result in anything from a popped tire up to irreversible damage to your car’s suspension system.

Road damages
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Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

It’s best to avoid roads with potholes altogether. As that is not always possible, you should at least slow down when you see a large pothole. Driving over a pothole at a lower speed will reduce the potential damage.

Not Driving It Enough

If driving over potholes kills your car, wouldn’t it be better to just leave it parked? Well, not exactly. In fact, not driving your car enough can actually lead to some major damages. Some of the issues that can be caused by letting your car sit for too long include deformed tires, a dead battery, or a ruined, neglected paint job.

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Petr Svarc/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you’re planning to store your car for a few months, it’s best to correctly prepare it for storage first. If you have the chance, do your best to take your stored garage queen out for a drive every now and then.

Only Driving It On Short Trips

Did you know that driving your car too much can be just as bad as letting it sit for months, if not worse? When going for a really short drive, you may be harming your vehicle. Driving your car for just a couple of minutes, only to shut the engine off before the components get a proper chance to warm up, could result in a hefty repair bill.

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Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Pay attention to your short trips and ensure that your car gets enough time to warm up its components. A 2-minute drive every day could lead to some major damages after some time.

Not Shifting Gears Properly

Cars with a manual transmission are great. Many car enthusiasts adore the stick-shift transmission for having more control of the vehicle, resulting in a better driving experience. While some drivers prefer manual gearboxes, many inexperienced drivers struggle with it.

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Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

Using a manual transmission incorrectly can lead to a hefty repair bill from your mechanic. While an occasional mishap should not result in any damage, repeatedly missing gears can break the gearbox. When stopped at a traffic light in a manual car, pay attention to the clutch pedal. Keeping your foot on the clutch pedal for too long can cause it to wear out quickly.

Shifting To Drive While The Car Is Moving Backward

Many drivers, especially impatient ones, are guilty of doing this. Perhaps you were quickly trying to leave a parking spot and be on your way. Either way, shifting a car to Drive while the vehicle is still rolling backward can cause major damage to the drivetrain.

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Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Every time a car shifts from Park to Drive, it should be completely stopped. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to replace the transmission of your vehicle a lot sooner than you would expect.

Not Cleaning Up Spills Inside The Car

Hopefully, the interior of your car looks relatively clean. Many of us have spilled something in our cars at least once, and it is crucial to take care of such spills straight away.

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Yuttachai Kongprasert/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Not cleaning up spills can lead to a lot more than just an unpleasant sight. In fact, liquids spilled in your vehicle can make their way to cables and damage the electronic components in the car. What’s more, some carbonated liquids, like Coke, can cause rust in the cabin of your car. Take care of those spills as fast as possible.

Irregular Oil Changes

Changing the oil regularly is a crucial part of car maintenance. Luckily, engines in modern cars can last a lot longer without an oil change. However, it is still good practice to change the oil frequently to ensure that the engine can work as efficiently as possible.

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Xinhua/Yang Zhisen via Getty Images

Many modern cars are fitted with a maintenance reminder light for forgetful driver. Once it comes on, it’s high time to get your oil changed. If your car isn’t fitted with a maintenance reminder, consider writing down the mileage at every oil change to make sure you don’t miss the next one.

Ignoring The Maintenance Schedule

Believe it or not, the owner’s manual of your car is filled with useful information. One of the greatest parts is the maintenance schedule, which is extremely helpful when it comes to planning your next appointment at the service center. That way, mechanics can spot issues with your car at an early stage, and change out worn out parts of your vehicle.

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Most new vehicles sold today come with a couple of years’ regular service included in the price of the car. Even if your complimentary service period is over, it’s certainly worth following your car’s maintenance schedule.

Not Letting The Engine Warm Up

Warming up the engine before driving is crucial, particularly when it’s cold outside. While the belief that letting the car idle before setting off is nothing more than a common car myth, you should allow the engine to warm up before going full throttle.

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Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Note that driving the car will warm it up faster as opposed to letting it idle on the driveway. After setting off, it’s best not to drive at maximum throttle until the engine has warmed up to its standard operating temperature.

Forgetting To Change Shock Absorbers

Driving around with worn-out shock absorbers is not only highly uncomfortable but also incredibly dangerous. Worn out shocks can dramatically worsen the handling of your car, ending up in anything from the vehicle jerking from side to side all the way to losing control of the vehicle altogether.

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Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

You should ask to have the shock absorbers checked out by your local workshop whenever the car’s tires are changed. Note that driving over a pothole or hitting a curb can damage a shock absorber, too.

Not Having It Serviced By An Experienced Mechanic

Nobody wants to spend a lot of money when it is not necessary. More often than not, car owners find themselves heading to shady workshops hoping for having repair work done at a fraction of the cost. While this may have worked with older, simpler vehicles, it is a lot harder to do with modern cars.

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Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

Unqualified mechanics can do more harm than good. Modern cars are packed with high-tech systems, therefore it’s safest to take it to an authorized dealer for service. The repair bill may be higher, but you can rest assured that the job will be done properly.

Overloading It

You can find the maximum load capacity of your vehicle listed somewhere within the owner’s manual. Ignoring it and overloading the car can negatively impact the handling and performance of your car. What’s more, repeatedly overloading your car can lead to an array of different issues.

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Veronique DURRUTY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Extra weight adds additional stress on the engine, transmission, tires, and suspension components of your car, shortening their lifespan. You might find that the brakes won’t work as well either. Overall, it’s a lot safer to take your cargo in two trips rather than surpassing the maximum load capacity.

Using Water Instead of Coolant

When some drivers run out of coolant in the radiator, they refill it with tap or bottled water instead. While it may seem like a great trick that will save you some cash at first, it has to be done correctly in order to be effective.

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Chesnot/Getty Images

It is true that you can mix regular water with coolant, but you should never just have water by itself in the radiator. What’s more, the engine of your car can warm up a lot (especially during the summer) surpassing the boiling point of the water, resulting in possibly cracking the engine block in the worst case scenario.

Not Letting The Engine Cool Off

This applies primarily to turbocharged cars. After a long drive, it is absolutely crucial to drive at low RPM for at least a few minutes before parking and shutting off the engine. That way, the turbocharged engine has the chance to properly cool off.

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Fred Enke/The Enthusiast Network via Getty Images/Getty Images

It is important to note that it is unlikely for your car’s turbocharged engine to reach such high temperatures during the everyday commute. If you are a fan of driving quickly or perhaps are planning to drive on the race track, don’t forget to let the engine cool off before turning it off.

Forgetting About Wax

Many car owners seem to forget about getting wax applied on the surface of their cars. To some, it may seem like an unnecessary measure or a trick for the local car wash to make more money. In reality, waxing your car a couple of times every year can have an enormous impact on the vehicle’s paint job.

waxing car
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Gail Fisher/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A layer of wax acts as a shield that protects the clear coat and the paint on your vehicle. The wax absorbs most of the dirt and other unwanted substances, rather than the paint itself.

Rapidly Braking And Accelerating

Driving instructors always mention that young drivers should refrain from rapidly braking or accelerating. The downsides of braking rapidly go beyond simply being uncomfortable for the occupants.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hard accelerations put a lot of stress on the drivetrain of your car and could lead to problems with the transmission. Braking rapidly, on the other hand, can quickly wear out the brake pads in your car. In the absolute worst-case scenario, the driver behind you might even fail to brake in time and rear-end your vehicle in effect.

Ignoring A Cracked Windscreen

If you spot a small chip somewhere on the windshield of your vehicle, it is most certainly best to have it taken care of as soon as possible. Otherwise, a small chip might turn into a larger one, and eventually end up becoming a major crack. Sudden changes in temperature, for example, can cause a windshield crack to expand.

A view through a cracked taxi windscreen on the lonely road...
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Jerry Redfern/LightRocket via Getty Images

Many drivers are not aware that small windshield chips can be fixed, without the need for purchasing a replacement. Once your windshield is cracked, however, you have to replace it.

Ignoring Unusual Sounds

Hearing weird noises coming from your car is often a signal of a problem with the vehicle. If you act quickly enough instead of ignoring the sounds, it may turn out to be a minor and cheap fix. If the noises are ignored, however, they can turn into major issues over time.

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mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images

A great example of this would be a squealing sound whenever you push the brakes. This could likely indicate worn out brake pads, which is a quick and easy fix. If you choose to ignore it instead, worn out brake pads could lead to damaged brake rotors that are a lot more costly to replace.

Driving Over Speed Bumps Incorrectly

There is a certain approach to correctly drive over a speed bump. You may be surprised to hear that it’s not just about going over one at a slow speed.

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Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Naturally, if you clear a speed bump too quickly you may damage your car’s suspension or scratch the bumpers. However, you may also cause these damages even when driving at a slow pace! The key to speed bumps is to approach them at a slow speed. Braking hard right before the bump itself will cause the front of your car to go down, and can ruin your front bumper as a result.

Not Checking Tire Pressure Often

Many drivers seem to forget that ensuring your tires have the correct pressure is absolutely crucial. Afterall, driving with underinflated tires can lead to a variety of issues. Bad fuel economy, irregular tire wear, or drastic changes to your car’s handling are just some of the problems that can be caused by underinflated tires.

Tyre air pressure
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Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Checking the tire pressure takes just a couple of minutes and can be done at most gas stations. Don’t forget to fill up the tires in accordance with the proper pressure noted on the sticker on the driver’s door pillar, or in the owner’s manual.

Not Checking Tire Wear

Checking your tires does not finish with checking the tire pressure. Inspecting the tire wear is just as important as ensuring the proper pressure. Much like underinflated tires, tires that are worn out have a dramatic impact on the handling and safety of your car.

Williams technicians check tyre pressure
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CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images

A visual inspection of your tires can be done at any time, anywhere. Watch out for uneven tire wear, it can be a sign of bad alignment or suspension system issues. Be sure to check the tire wear before it’s too late, otherwise you might face expensive repair costs.

Fitting The Wrong Tires

While forgetting to check the tire pressure and tire wear are both important when maintaining a vehicle, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that your car has the right tires on. A wrong type of tire can drastically affect the handling and safety of your car, even if they appear to be fine at first sight.

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Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

Double-check what size and type of tires are recommended for the make and model of your vehicle before having them fitted on the car’s rims. Buying tires that are too big for your car, for example, can result in the wheels rubbing and damaging your vehicle.

Voiding The Warranty

This only applies to owners whose vehicles are still covered by the warranty. A good warranty can cover anything from regular maintenance all the way up to repairs that would be pricey otherwise. The last thing you want is to accidentally end up voiding the car’s warranty.

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Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you take your car to a race track, the warranty will most likely be void. Adding any modifications to the vehicle will void the dealer warranty as well. Keep in mind that dealers can scan the engine’s history to find any power-adders or even electronic modifications such as an ECU tune.

Overfilling The Car

Have you ever tried to continue filling up your vehicle after the gas pump stopped pumping fuel into the tank? Many car owners are guilty of this and are unknowingly damaging their cars in effect.

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Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Overfilling the gas tank does more damage than just hurting your wallet. Ideally, there should be a set amount of vapor in the fuel tank. By overfilling the tank, the excess fuel can reach the car’s vapor collection system. Then, the vapor is replaced with fuel, resulting in the engine running inefficiently. It can cause damage to the vapor collection system, too.

Not All Mechanics Are Top Notch

Do your research when looking for a reputable repair shop. It can be hard to find a good mechanic, so you may need to shop around a bit before you settle. You can also ask friends, family members, and locals for advice.

Not All Mechanics Are Top Notch
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Jan Sochor/Getty Images

You know a mechanic is good if he or she thoroughly explains the repairs required and has some options for you to consider. Don’t just go to the closest shop because it may not be the best one in your town.

Some Services Aren’t Necessary

Have you ever gone for an oil change at a quick lube shop only to be pressed to do a coolant flush or power steering flush? These are big moneymakers for these types of shops, and they’re not always necessary. The best thing to do is to check your owner’s manual.

Some Services Aren't Necessary
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Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

These days, many vehicles can go 100,000 miles using a particular fluid. Also, avoid getting the fuel injectors cleaned because you can purchase additives to do the job.

You Can Change Your Own Oil

It’s not too hard to change your own oil. And since it’s one of the most common maintenance procedures, it’s worth considering. While many auto shops try to get you to change your oil every 3,000 miles, many modern vehicles can go 10,000 miles or more without needing a change. It’s just one way a shop makes fast money.

You Can Change Your Own Oil
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DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images

If you have some extra time and don’t mind getting a little dirty (or finding a place to dispose of the old oil), you can easily change your own and save some money in the long run.

That Check Engine Light Is Probably Not Critical

Some people get really stressed out when the check engine light pops up on the dashboard, but there’s a good chance that it’s merely letting you know that a minor issue is occurring, such as a problem with the exhaust system. It’s okay if you don’t address it right away unless you have a really old car.

That Check Engine Light Is Probably Not Critical
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Instagram @c_inek

Eventually, you’ll have to get it checked out, but it’s usually not a big deal if you can’t do it expeditiously. However, if the check engine light starts flashing make sure you get it checked out ASAP.

You’ll Save Money If You Buff Out Blemishes Yourself

Body shops make a lot of money because they repair cosmetic damage on all kinds of vehicles, which is something the average consumer has no interest, or experience, doing. Even minor dents and blemishes can cost $1,000 or more to fix. But you can fight back by doing your own touch ups.

You'll Save Money If You Buff Out Blemishes Yourself
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Instagram @cannon_collision_corp

If you have a scratch or scuff that needs repair, simply buy some products on your own to take care of the problem. While it may not quite as professional looking as what a body shop can do, it can still produce reasonable results.

Installing New Brakes Is Not That Hard To Do

If you have even a tiny bit of mechanical know-how, you can change your own brake pads and motors. Auto shops make a lot of money from these types of jobs. That’s because while the task itself isn’t very hard to do it can be time-consuming. Therefore, they make a lot of money due to labor costs.

Installing New Brakes Is Not That Hard To Do
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Maurizio Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images

You can use a jack, but it will take a few hours even if you’re only changing the brake pads. The job is much easier and quicker to do if you have a hydraulic lift.

Inexpensive Tires May Be Old Stock

Depending on what type of vehicle you drive, tires can be expensive. That means it can be hard to pass up a good deal when you see one. However, you need to make sure that the tires you get are good quality. When you visit a shop, ask to see the “build date” of the tire.

Inexpensive Tires May Be Old Stock
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Dmitry FeoktistovTASS via Getty Images

That good deal may apply to tires that are several years old. This can be dangerous, particularly if you’re buying snow tires. While saving money is important, safety is even more important.

A Lifetime Muffler Deal Isn’t Really A Bargain

Some shops promote deals such as mufflers that will last a lifetime. That sounds like a bargain, right? But it’s not. The problem is that while the shop will repair and replace the muffler for free, it’s not including other parts.

A Lifetime Muffler Deal Isn't Really A Bargain
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Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

The muffler is only one part of the exhaust system. If you need to have the pipes repaired, then you’re responsible for their cost and probably the labor as well. Don’t get sucked into deals that seem too good to be true because they probably are.

There are Some Jobs A Dealer Should Always Do

Once a car moves out of the bumper-to-bumper/powertrain warranty period, many people avoid the dealership like the plague. The biggest reason is because dealerships tend to be more expensive than local repair shops. However, some jobs should always be carried out by the official manufacturer.

There are Some Jobs A Dealer Should Always Do
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This includes work on a catalytic converter or emissions parts. Consult with the dealer first because these components often have long warranty periods. Also, federal law requires that they are replaced for free. It’s worth double-checking just in case.

Never Bring Your Car In For Repairs On A Friday Afternoon

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you need repairs on your vehicle, schedule an appointment but don’t make it on a Friday afternoon. That’s because, just like you, the mechanics often want to finish quickly so they can get on with the weekend.

Friday
PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images
PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images

As a result, they may rush the job and won’t do it as thoroughly. The best time to take your car in for repairs is earlier in the workweek. The employees won’t feel as stressed to finish the job.

Mechanics Don’t Catch Every Little Thing, Particularly If They’re In A Rush

Nobody’s perfect, not even mechanics. This is particularly true if an employee is working on your vehicle and has a time limit. He or she may miss something or forget to do something simple such as lubricate a hinge or other mechanism. While little things like this may not matter in the moment, they may affect performance over time.

Mechanics
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The best thing to do is make sure that every little thing has been completed before you drive away from the shop. That way, you have peace of mind knowing your vehicle has been completely checked over.

Not All Tires Need To Be Replaced

It’s important that you familiarize yourself with your vehicle before you take it into the shop. That includes the tires. Don’t buy new ones unless you know you need them. A bad mechanic may try to sell you tires when the ones you have can last a few miles more.

Not All Tires Need To Be Replaced
JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images
JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

Check the tread specifications yourself, and make sure the mechanic measures the tread with a gauge. That way, you know for sure that the tires are either ready for replacement or fine for another season.

A Good Shop Won’t Try To Scam You

You’re right to be suspicious if an auto shop advises you “not to drive your vehicle another mile.” This is one scam some mechanics may try to pull if they think they can get more money out of you. If you feel like you’re being pressured to do certain repairs, take your car to another shop.

A Good Shop Won't Try To Scam You
JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images
JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

Also, check to see if the facility has one of the following certifications: ASE, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or AAA (America Automobile Association). In addition, make sure it has a state license. Good auto shops will display this information.

High-Tech Devices Are Not Their Shtick

Many newer vehicles come with fairly complicated infotainment systems that can include an audio system and Bluetooth technology. Some mechanics can work on these types of devices, but most concentrate on issues with the engine, transmission, and drivetrain, not anything screen-related.

High-Tech Devices Are Not Their Shtick
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

If you’re having a problem with your car’s in-dash system, it’s probably better to take the vehicle to the dealer. They are more experienced in dealing with those types of issues. Plus, you don’t want a mechanic who’s unfamiliar with the technology to make things worse.

Inferior Chinese Parts May Be Installed Instead Of Brand Names

Like other businesses, auto shops do what they can to save money. Unfortunately, some of their cost-saving procedures can adversely affect you and your vehicle. When you need a part replaced on your car or truck, ask for a brand name.

Inferior
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The problem is that some shops use cheap parts from China if they can get away with it. These parts are often inferior in quality and not as durable as more established brands. Make sure the mechanic uses high-quality components, and ask to see the box to ensure that the part was actually installed.

You Should Mimic The Weird Noise Your Car Is Making Rather Than Describe It

Don’t be embarrassed when talking to your mechanic. If your vehicle is making odd noises, you need to do whatever you can to get the point across–including mimicking the noise to the best of your ability. It’s often a lot easier and quicker for you to try to make the sound yourself rather than describe it.

You Should Mimic The Weird Noise Your Car Is Making Rather Than Describe It
YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images
YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images

Your description may not make any sense to the mechanic, but the funny noise you emit may actually help them better determine the cause of the problem.

Working On Cars Can Be Dangerous

It’s not always easy being a mechanic, and it’s certainly not the cleanest job in the industry. While most mechanics don’t experience severe injuries on the job, they do get a little banged up now and again.

Working On Cars Can Be Dangerous
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Pinterest

It’s not uncommon for employees in an auto shop to experience hot oil spills or to drop heavy tools on the feet. They also get scrapes and bruises from working on vehicles and have occasionally been bumped by cars.

Some Local Auto Shops Lack The Resources Dealerships Have

Many people prefer taking their vehicles to local shops because they want to support small businesses. However, not all of these shops have the resources to work on all types of makes and models. Independent shops may not have all the tools that a dealership does because they’re very costly.

Some Local Auto Shops Lack The Resources Dealerships Have
Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images

So, before you take your slightly used BMW or other import to a local repair shop, make sure it has the tools to repair it. Otherwise you can waste a lot of time.

Tacky Add-Ons Are Just That: Tacky

If you want to soup up your vehicle, you have every right to do so. But you might want to think twice about adding that racing stripe to your Honda Civic. Many auto shops have no problem boosting the look of your car with aftermarket accessories, including spoilers, strange wheels, and exotic paint.

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Instagram @omgvtak
Instagram @omgvtak

Since it’s not really hard for them to do these jobs, a lot of auto shops will simply take your money and carry out your request. But a good mechanic or auto guy will be honest about any tacky requests and suggest more attractive alternatives.

There Are Times When Investing In A New Car Is The Best Thing To Do

Many people cringe at the thought of buying a new car because it can cost a lot of money upfront. But there are many advantages. Typically, new cars run really well the first few years of service life, and if something does go wrong it’s almost always covered under the warranty.

There Are Times When Investing In A New Car Is The Best Thing To Do
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Plus, new cars provide the latest and greatest in technology. Local mechanics, of course, work largely on used cars. They won’t make as much (or any) money if you’re driving something new.