Owning a car in Dubai (or anywhere else in the world) is a serious commitment. You need to have 100% confidence that the car owners can make the most out of the vehicle they are planning to buy.
Before you make the purchase, there are a couple of things you must do first. From getting a driver’s license to applying the things you learned in driving school on the road, you have to make sure that you’re ready once you take out the vehicle.
Of course, your knowledge shouldn’t be limited to just using your car. You must also know how to take care of it. From not reading the user’s manual to forgoing routine car maintenance, this article tackles the top eight mistakes most car owners make that can be detrimental to vehicle health, along with what you can to avoid them.
Also Read: Top 5 Essential Tips to Buy a Car in Dubai
1. Not Reading the Manual
While reading it may seem tedious, your car’s user manual is there for a reason – it tells you everything you need to know about the vehicle. It covers all the basics, including changing filters, oil, and timing belt, and checking the air pressure in your tires. It also highlights the importance of regular maintenance and lets you know what you can do in case signs of mechanical problems emerge.
2. Leaving the Vehicle Exposed
Another common mistake many car owners make is leaving their vehicles exposed. Keeping your vehicle fully covered when not in use is an essential maintenance practice. This is to protect its painted exterior from the sun’s rays that can cause fading and other forms of damage.
When not parked in your own garage, you should choose a parking space wisely. If possible, choose a spot that has enough shade to cover the entire vehicle. In cases wherein this cannot be accomplished, you should invest in a sturdy car cover that not only keeps sunlight out but also protects your automobile against plant saps and bird droppings.
3. Putting the Car Into Drive Immediately After Starting
After buying a new car, people can sometimes become overzealous to use it to the point that they put it into drive (for automatic vehicles) or into first gear (for manual cars) immediately after starting it up. This is a big mistake.
Ideally, it would be best if you let your car idle for at least 10 seconds after starting. This will allow the car to come down to the ideal number of revolutions per minute (RPM) for idling. It also allows the oil to circulate to the different components of the engine before you hit the road.
During this short waiting time, you should take the opportunity to fasten your seatbelt and adjust your seats as needed. It would also help to keep in mind that older cars may need longer idle times.
4. Forgoing Car Maintenance and Repairs
Car maintenance should be done periodically to ensure that the vehicle is in tip-top shape. Among the simple preventive measures that drivers tend to ignore include changing the oil. When not done according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, this may cause damage to the engine.
You should also remember to check the levels of coolant and other fluids to avoid a trip to the mechanic. Generally, maintenance tasks should be done for every 5,000 miles worth of drive, regardless of the level of wear and tear.
Ultimately, keeping a regular maintenance schedule can help you prevent your car from stalling and avoid costly repairs.
Similarly, not attending to minor car issues immediately can also cause bigger troubles later. Whether it involves the air-conditioning system, a worn-out brake pad, or electrical repairs, you must bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic at the first sign of a problem.
5. Taking a Chance on a Flat Tire
Flat tires are probably one of the most common issues that drivers face. While it may be easy to deal with it from the onset, leaving a flat tire unattended can cause significant issues like costly repairs – or worse, road accidents.
Before you even blow a tire, be sure to add more air to a flat tire or have it replaced when necessary. Ask a mechanic to check for signs of wear and tear when you bring your car to the garage for an oil change.
You should also make a habit of checking the tires regularly before you go on a drive to make sure that they have enough pressure to hold the weight of the vehicle and its passengers.
6. Driving Full Speed Over a Pothole
Potholes are every driver’s nightmare on the road, but this doesn’t give you an excuse to drive full speed over them. Doing so is a surefire way of damaging your vehicle’s suspension.
If the pothole is wide and deep enough, you might find your front wheels hitting the edge of the hole, which can lead to the same amount of damage that a bump on the curb can cause.
7. Not Checking Fluid Levels
One of the things you’ll learn from owning your first car is that there are many fluids that need to be checked and replenished regularly. Aside from the fuel, you have to make sure that your car has enough engine oil, brake or power steering fluid, coolant, and transmission oil.
You should also make sure that these fluids aren’t leaking. Once you find signs of a leak, you have to trace the source and deal with it immediately. Remember: If you ignore them long enough, you might face engine failure, and that can be costly and inconvenient to deal with.
8. Disregarding Warning Lights
Over the years, the number of warning lights in a vehicle’s dashboard has continued to increase. This isn’t surprising, considering the ever-growing number of features cars now have that make driving and/or riding more convenient.
While some may seem inconsequential, these warning lights serve the same purpose: to indicate that something is wrong. If you ignore them, you might face a range of issues that can be as simple as a higher emission rate or as deadly as airbag failure.
Learning from other people’s mistakes can help prevent you from making your own. Heed warnings and avoid the top blunders mentioned in this article, and you should do just fine.
Ahmad Ramadan is a Managing Partner at Deutsche Technik Service Center, Dubai’s first and largest VW, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley, Porsche, & Lamborghini vehicle specialist and performance tuner. DT has also built an illustrious portfolio in classic car repair, maintenance, and restoration, as well as bodywork (accident repair, painting, and denting). DT Service Centre offers a full range of services: mechanical repairs, maintenance, servicing, etc.