You 'Auto' Know: Common Maintenance MIstakes


Phoenix, March 21, 2013. We count on our cars to get us where we need to go, but our cars can’t always count on us to return the favor. Are you guilty of making a common maintenance mistake? Read the list compiled by AAA Auto Repair experts to find out.

“Aside from lack of preventative care, one of the most common maintenance mistakes a consumer can make is ignoring the warning signs their vehicle is giving them,” said Travis Mock, auto repair supervisor for AAA Arizona. “Motorists should treat their vehicle like a member of their family. When something doesn’t sound or feel right, the symptoms shouldn’t be ignored.”

According to AAA Auto Repair experts in Arizona, the following are five common auto maintenance mistakes consumers make:  

  • Internet diagnostics. When you’re sick, you don’t ask strangers to diagnose you or recommend treatment options, and the same is true for your car. Yet, consumers often use online self-help forums in an effort to avoid paying a diagnostic fee and save money. However, these forums often lead to consumers buying parts based on the recommendations of strangers, resulting in unnecessary repairs that exceed the cost of the diagnostic fee they were trying to avoid in the first place.
  • Not establishing a repair shop relationship. Do you frequent a coffee shop where you’re greeted by name or turn to a trusted doctor when you’re sick? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t also have an auto repair facility and service advisor who knows you and your vehicle. By establishing this relationship, you’ll have someone to turn to for routine maintenance or emergency repairs and know they have your best interests in mind.


  • Ignoring sounds. When you hear an unusual noise coming from under your hood, don’t turn up your radio to drown it out. Rather, give your trusted technician a call and schedule a service appointment as soon as possible. Squeaking, grinding or thumping could indicate a serious brake, engine or suspension malfunction. Ignore an abnormal noise for too long and you could end up seeing an abnormal repair bill.
  • Not addressing leaks. From brake fluid to coolant, consumers often overlook liquids leaking from their rides. Motorists may dismiss an oil leak by topping off low fluid, for example. However, leaking oil can drip onto suspension components and melt rubber on contact, which ultimately can lead to costly suspension repairs. If there’s a puddle in your parking spot, take the time to figure out what’s leaking.


  • Spending money without knowing why. Have you ever paid to change your power steering fluid but don’t know why? Often times, consumers spend money on maintenance or repairs without understanding what they paid for and why they needed it, especially if they don’t feel a difference in their vehicle once the work has been completed. Take the time to ask questions and understand the service being performed – and money being invested – in your vehicle.  

“The majority of motorists do not understand the complexities of their vehicles,” Mock said. “This is where working with a trusted automotive source, such as AAA, can save consumers time and money while providing peace of mind.”

AAA offers a variety of automotive solutions, including six AAA Auto Repair facilities across the metropolitan Phoenix area as well as a network of more than 100 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across the state. For more information, visit .

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.