Niagara Gazette

Columns

March 15, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Top 10 car maintenance mistakes technicians say do most damage

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — • Skip regular oil changes: Oil is the life blood of your car’s engine. It must be clean and full-bodied to protect the engine’s internal parts. Let it go too long and condition called “viscosity breakdown” occurs. In laymen’s terms, this means that the oil loses its ability to flow and protect your engine. The oil operates in a hot toxic environment. Leave it in the engine too long and it breaks down and turns into a sludgy compound that inhibits oil flow and internal lubrication.

 Ignoring tire pressure: Tires must be checked for proper inflation rates regularly. When tires are allowed to run low, two things happen. Negative wear patterns develop and premature tire failure can occur, all from a low air pressure. Keep those tires blown up! Not only will they last longer, you’ll get better gas mileage too. Why? Because properly inflated tires offer less rolling resistance, hence you don’t have to step harder on the gas to overcome the resistance from a low tire.

• No regular fluid checks and top-off: When you check the fluids regularly, you’ll notice when you have fluid loss, which might be due to a leak. This is a tipoff to check that system for a leak and repair it before it escalates to big bucks. Common fluids include engine coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, differential fluid, transfer case lubricant.

• Continuing to drive when the vehicle is overheating: I hate to admit this but I have done this one myself. The temperature light came on. I was 20 miles from home in the dead of winter. I had AAA, but didn’t want to call a tow truck, so I drove it to my garage and blew a cylinder head gasket, not to mention cracked the head. The repair cost me $700, boy was I mad but I had no one to blame but myself. So take it from me, if the temperature light comes on, pull over and call a tow truck or pay the consequences.

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