WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2019
You do your best to take great care of your car so it can take great care of you. But could there be something you're missing? You'll want to avoid these 10 car-owner don'ts to ensure thousands of worry-free miles ahead:
- Don't forget to change the oil. Dirty, gritty oil accelerates engine wear since it's too thick to properly coat and lubricate engine parts. Follow the suggested oil-change schedule in your owner's manual. Years ago, every 3,000 miles was the rule, but improvements in oil chemistry and engine technology have stretched that interval considerably in most vehicles.
- Don't ignore the "check engine" light. Unlike the "service required" light, which is like a friendly reminder, "check engine" can indicate something is seriously wrong.
- Don't ignore tire pressure. At least once a month, use a gauge to check your tire pressure after the car has been parked for a while, and be sure to check the spare, too. Most cars have inflation specifications on a sticker on the driver-side door post.
- Don't idle too long. On today's fuel-injected cars, you need only 30 seconds' warm up. Any longer just wastes fuel and contributes to air pollution.
- Don't idle unattended. In both Washington and Oregon, it's illegal to leave a running car unattended – even in your own driveway.
- Don't leave windows frosty. Washington and Oregon require drivers to keep windshields clear of "non-transparent material," which includes frost, ice and snow.
- Don't leave the keys in when buying gas. A few seconds with the cashier is plenty of time for a thief to hop in and drive away.
- Don't assume you always can rely on prompt roadside assistance for problems like a dead battery or flat tire. Knowing how to handle basic emergencies can ensure you're not stranded in unsafe circumstances.
- Don't let the gas tank run low in winter. Keeping it full prevents condensation while also ensuring you'll have fuel if you're caught in a long, snowy commute or get stuck on the side of the road and need to run the engine for heat.
- Don't drive on flooded roads. If you can't see the pavement under the water or it's rushing across the road, turn around. Just 12 inches of water is enough to float a car!
Source: PEMCO Insurance
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