5 Commonly Overlooked Auto Maintenance Items

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car maintenance | mechanicWhen it comes to car maintenance, it would be fair to state that the general population’s knowledge of the subject begins and ends with “oil change.” Throw in the customary “check tire pressure” routine, and you’ve adequately covered mainstream America’s perception of automobile maintenance.

Yet, we fail to recognize our vehicles as complex machines, comprised of deeply technical components, mechanisms, and fluids that contribute to its ultimate purpose: transporting passengers from Point A to Point B. It’s a working body, just like your own.

This is a list of ostensibly overlooked auto maintenance items.  If you’re the type of person who needs a reminder, check out this auto maintenance app that will help you stay on top of your vehicle maintenance needs.




Wheel Alignment


Car owners should always ensure that their tires are positioned correctly. Properly aligned tires permit a straight riding experience. If your vehicle lags to the left or right, then you should have a mechanic perform an alignment check.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect It  

While the basic purpose of wheel alignment is succinct, the negative effects of disregarding its upkeep are extensive. Uneven tire placement results in additional road surface resistance, requiring the car to use more gas en route to its destination. This obviously increases both your carbon footprint on the environment and the amount you spend at the pump. Furthermore, unaligned tires wear faster, and new tires cost a pretty penny. Wheel alignments can cost anywhere from $80 – 100.

Air Conditioning Unit


Probably the most essential feature for passenger comfort, your air conditioner shouldn’t need much of an introduction – especially if you live in a warmer climate.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect It  

Failing to properly maintain your air conditioning unit can result in damage to internal components and potentially a complete breakdown. Don’t put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Without access to in-car air conditioning you might find yourself sweating bullets.  Simple inspections cost anywhere between $80 – 100 and only take about a half hour. However, if your unit does breakdown, you’re looking at repair costs that may exceed $1000.

Power Steering


Power steering typically consists of an engine-powered hydraulic pump that lubricates the steering mechanism with power-steering fluid. This liquid compound facilitates smooth steering movements. You don’t want to find yourself forcing the wheel.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect It  

If the power steering fluid begins to change color, bubble or leak these are signals that identify maintenance needs. Also, if you’re hearing strange noises or experiencing difficulty steering, these should are other obvious signs of maintenance needs. The steering wheel might stutter or resist, which could complicate matters when navigating a busy city street or congested freeway. Steering complications may threaten your safety, as well as other drivers. Costs may vary so if you’re not savvy enough to do it yourself, go get an estimate.



Responsible for switching gears while the vehicle moves, the transmission is an integral part of your car and driving experience. As the name implies, automatic transmissions change gears automatically, while manual transmissions require the driver to initiate gearshifts.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect It  

Firstly, your typical transmission comprises of roughly 1,000 parts, so it’s a very complex piece of machinery. The most blatant reason you shouldn’t neglect transmission maintenance is because it can potentially make gear shifting harder or impede the process. Poor upkeep leads to delayed shifting, erratic shifting, or simply no shifting at all. Not only does this complicate the driving experience, but it can be dangerous for both you and those around you. Internal transmission inspections are pricey because your mechanic will need to teardown the engine – costs hike due to labor.

Brake Fluid


This particular fluid’s purpose is to help transfer force into pressure to give your brakes strength. It’s an essential part of the brake system, as they won’t work without hydraulic fluid.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect It  

You don’t necessarily have to be a professional car technician to guess the consequences of not maintaining brake fluid. Your brakes lose power without brake fluid, forcing you to apply them longer, wearing them down even more. In some situations they can cause your brakes to fail altogether, which can endanger lives. Most places will perform a free brake check.

Quality car maintenance isn’t cheap, but it’s a necessary expense that will save you big moving forward.



  1. Interesting how the wheel alignment may tend to be an overlooked when thinking of maintenance. People may want to consider referring back to this article when performing or getting maintenance on their car. Useful post, hopefully others may think so too.

  2. I agree. Great info, and definitely a resource to refer back to when performing maintenance in the future. Thanks!

  3. This is a great post – you can save time and money by knowing basic maintenance skills that you can perform yourself!

  4. You really can save time and money by knowing basic maintenance techniques that can be performed yourself! Thanks for the great post!

  5. You have it right when you say ” Probably the most essential feature for passenger comfort, your air conditioner shouldn’t need much of an introduction – especially if you live in a warmer climate.” As someone who lives in AZ it is almost torturous getting into a car without AC. Thanks for the informative post!

  6. Very nicely and systematically informed about the basic and fundamental problems of a car and very helpful to avoid any problem and money saving too.

  7. Great article. These are some crucial aspects of a vehicle’s performance. In order to get the best out of a car, driver’s should be aware of these potential issues and check up on them regularly.

    1. The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” sure holds true when it comes to auto maintenance. Thanks for the input, AOC.

  8. In the case of modern manual transmissions, clutch fluid needs to be flushed at similar intervals to the brake fluid. A friend overlooked this and it resulted in him becoming stranded with a seized slave cylinder on a 2006 Corvette. What would have cost less than 5 dollars in maintenance ended up costing over $1000 in towing, parts, and labor.

    1. Excellent point Pat. You are so right. Often a minimal expense maintenance item can cost you thousands if left unchecked. Thanks.

  9. car maintenance is important to keep car in good condition.

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