People with high-maintenance personalities don’t necessarily provide high maintenance for their cars.

After all, few drivers enjoy buying tires or getting their cars serviced, but it’s an important part of keeping your motor running — and staying safe.

“Ignoring regular maintenance is a costly decision that motorists make,” said Travis Mock, supervisor of club-owned auto repair for AAA Arizona. “As a safety advocate, AAA recommends following the guidelines in the owner’s manual and keeping in mind the harsh weather conditions in Arizona.”

AAA Arizona notes the following five common maintenance mistakes:

  • Ignoring tire pressure: Not checking tire pressure at least once a month can wreak havoc on your wheels. A tire can look and feel full yet only contain half the pressure it requires to be road ready. Besides impacting gas mileage and overall handling, low or overinflated tires affect suspension and tread wear and can result in blowouts.
  • Neglecting fluids and coolants: These are the lifeblood of your car, but often people wait until the vehicle starts malfunctioning rather than take a proactive approach, Mock said. Neglecting fluid levels can at best inconvenience motorists and at worst shut down a car.
  • Not checking the battery: The average lifespan of a car battery in Arizona is 32 months. Still, a battery’s capacity and condition should be checked every six months. For example, if the cables get corroded from leaking battery acid, they can be expensive to replace.
  • Putting off oil changes: It’s not uncommon for motorists to forget or put off changing the oil, Mock said. The primary function of oil in cars is to separate water from oil by keeping the water suspended. It also breaks down carbon deposits in your engine. Dirty oil loses its capacity to do all of that. Plus, during an oil change, the mechanic will inspect parts and check fluids and filters.
  • Not inspecting filters: Fuel filters should be changed per the manufacturer’s suggested replacement intervals, and air filters should be inspected every oil change and replaced when needed. With Arizona’s dusty climate, air filters might need to be replaced more often than in other areas of the country. When filters get clogged, they can cause the “check engine” light to come on or the catalytic converter or various sensors to start failing.

“Avoiding these maintenance things can be end up being some of the most costly repairs for consumers, but they’re the easiest ones to avoid,” Mock said.

Valerie Vinyard is a public affairs specialist for AAA Arizona. Contact her at or at 258-0518.