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The 6 worst pieces of car advice you’ll ever hear

man grabbing gear stick

Sometimes we turn to our friends and family for advice when we’re worried about something with our car. Sometimes that advice can be wrong, despite them meaning well.

To ensure your car’s unavoidable repairs don’t cost you thousands out of pocket, you can consider getting vehicle breakdown coverage (often referred to as an extended car warranty). Having car repair coverage that’s worth it makes your car experience much easier.

Here are 6 pieces of car advice to avoid at all costs.

1. Ignore dashboard warning lights

Most people don’t know what their dashboard warning lights mean, and it’s always easy to ignore the things we don’t know.

Because many cars today’s are well-built and offer a smooth ride, it’s no surprise that many drivers arrive at repair shops unaware of serious problems. These problems could have been avoided had they taken their warning lights seriously. Don’t ignore your warning lights. Be sure to look in the owner’s manual to see what they mean.

Read our blog for a quick guide on what your car’s dashboard warning lights mean.

2. Ignore squealing brakes

It’s not always a reason to worry, but squealing brakes should never be ignored. Your brakes can squeal for several reasons. Your brakes could be poorly installed. You could be driving during a rainy day (moisture creates particular sounds). You might need your brake pads to be replaced.

No matter what the cause is, you should get it checked out. If your brake pads need replacement but you ignore it for too long, it can become a brake job that costs over $2,000.

3. Ignore your engine overheating

When the engine overheats, it can cause serious problems to the engine and other parts of your drivetrain. Ignoring an overheating engine until it’s convenient for you to take it to the repair shop for a check up can cost you thousands of dollars.

There are some clear warning signs that your engine is overheating. Here are 5 things you’ll start to notice:

  1. The temperature gauge is in the red area or it’s showing a number that’s hotter than usual.
  2. Steam is coming from under the hood.
  3. Loud, rattling sounds can be heard after you’ve turned off the engine.
  4. The engine doesn’t have as much power as it normally does.
  5. The check engine light is on.

When your car is overheating, pull over to the side of the road, turn off the engine and find the nearest repair shop.

4. Clean your engine with soap and water

The engine does most of the hard work of keeping your car moving.

It’s constantly keeping in contact with oil, various component fluids, debris, chemicals from the road and accumulated grime. All the fluids, especially oil, trap dirt, and the buildup is really hard to clean. 

You should wash your engine from time to time, but washing your engine can’t be done the same way you clean the exterior of your car. Never wash your engine with soap and water. You should use a special engine cleaner. 

Your goal isn’t to have a perfectly clean engine but rather to make sure grime doesn’t accumulate.

5. Let your car stay dirty (or let it be washed by the rain)

Letting dirt build up on your car can diminish the paint, allow pollutants to get stuck to surfaces and cause rust. The problem with rust is that once it starts, it’s very hard to get rid of it. Rust eats away at the body of the car and can eat away at important components, like the exhaust system, gas lines and brake lines.

Letting salt, sand, snow and any moisture simply stay on the car will surely end up causing you problems. Give your car a good cleaning and a wax job even in the middle of winter. Clean behind the wheels, the panels and the front grill.

6. Inflate your car tires according to the number on the tire

You should periodically be checking your tire pressure. Having the right tire pressure helps you have:

What’s the right pressure? The right tire pressure can be found in the car owner’s manual or on the sticker located in the driver’s door jamb. Don’t use the PSI (pounds per square inch) number found on the tire sidewall. That’s not the recommended tire pressure. It’s normally the maximum allowed pressure of the tire itself.

Protect your car from unavoidable repairs

No matter how much you avoid bad advice and do everything right to keep your car in great shape, mechanical breakdowns can still happen. You can get an extended car warranty quote and find out your monthly cost for Vehicle Repair Protection to see if it’s a good option. VRP is a low-cost subscription that can cover major car repairs like AC repair and a transmission replacement. has created vehicle breakdown coverage that is simple, trustworthy and affordable. Transforming the extended car warranty marketplace through technology and transparency, offers a full suite of worry-free, no haggle car care plans through low-cost, 100% online, monthly subscriptions that drivers can sign up for in less than five minutes. Get an instant quote today!