Top Ten Worst Things You Can Do To Your Car

Getting an oil change is a pain, whether you do it yourself or have it done professionally. You have to take time out of your day, pay for it and, if you're at a lube shop, often endure a stream of questions and accusations that make you feel like a worse car owner than Tommy Callahan.

But it's just this type of annoying, small maintenance procedure that can prevent some seriously pricey repairs in the future.

According to a recent study by, which polled professional mechanics, putting off oil changes is one of the top ten worst things that you can do to your car. Along with neglecting other small repairs, such as replacing the air filter, small issues can snowball into much bigger problems - like engine failure - and huge repair bills in the future.

And you should stop doing one thing you're probably doing this winter that you think helps your vehicle: Warming it up. Cars no longer need to be warmed up in the winter, and doing so wastes gas and makes the car more enticing to car thieves. (Because very few people sit inside their car while it's warming up.) Sure, your engine reaches maximum efficiency when it's warm, but modern engines warm up fast enough while driving, so you don't need to waste time and fuel letting the car sit idle.

Here are the top ten things that can seriously cost you down the road, in no particular order:

  • Putting off scheduled maintenance
  • Ignoring the check engine light
  • Neglecting to change your oil on time or at all
  • Failing to check tire pressure
  • Ignoring transmission, brake, coolant and other fluid services
  • Continuing to drive your vehicle when it overheats
  • Not changing the fuel and air filters
  • Having an unqualified person or service center service your vehicle
  • Using aftermarket parts instead of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) quality parts
  • Trying to service your own vehicle if you don’t know what you are doing

The air filter one is actually a big one. These are cheap to replace, but, if they get too dirty, they can wreck oxygen sensors (which could end up costing $250) and could potentially damage your catalytic converter (which hits your pocketbook at around $1,000).

Not adhering to routine maintenance can also void your car's warranty. That's something you don't want to do in case of any problems with the vehicle - which will occur if you're ignoring routine maintenance in the first place.