It's safe to assume that everyone knows it's important to keep their car maintained properly, but most of us don't know exactly what that looks like on a day-to-day basis. Most people don't intentionally neglect their car, but it can happen since we live in a very busy world. Often we put off regular maintenance like checking the tire pressure, replacing the spark plugs and wires, changing the oil, etc. The same way our bodies are not designed to function on one meal for several months, cars won't continue to function properly past their regular service intervals suggested by the manufacturer.
One of the reasons people don't properly maintain their car is because they don't want to spend money on things they don't feel makes a difference. The problem here is that when people don't properly maintain their car, they don't realize that they are actually going to spend more money on their car when damage occurs to it because of poor maintenance. Here are examples of some consequences for neglecting regular maintenance:
Engine oil – If the engine oil hasn't been changed for at least 12,000 miles, the oil loses its lubrication benefits and becomes more of a watery substance causing internal friction. This internal friction means that the engine is slowly starting to self-destruct. Unfortunately, this is permanent damage which will drastically shorten the life of the engine.
Spark plugs – Spark plugs that have never been changed can cause problems starting the car, engine misfire, and poor fuel economy. Since most of us don't know what an engine misfire is, the best way to explain it is that there's an explosion happening inside the engine because old spark plugs are no longer able to do their job efficiently. When old spark plugs explode or misfire, they can cause serious engine damage.
Tire pressure – Car tires need to be inspected on a regular basis to prevent them from losing too much air. Some of us might be wondering, "What if my tires aren't leaking air?" Even if tires are not leaking air, the weather will cause the air pressure in car tires to increase or decrease depending on the temperature. Too much air or too little air can cause the tires to wear unevenly. Uneven tire wear means they'll deteriorate faster and it'll cost more money to maintain them since they'll need to be replaced more often. Tires that are under inflated are a very serious safety hazard because it causes the tires to overheat, and and when a tire overheats it could blow out on the highway.
Brake pads – Worn brake pads that are ignored will eventually damage the brake rotors meaning a costly brake job. Sometimes brake pads that are worn have damage from severe overheating, and this can cause poor braking performance potentially resulting in an accident.
As we can see, neglecting regular car maintenance can be catastrophic to the health of a car. However, all of these problems are preventable if we stop to think about how much we depend on our cars. A car is a major investment. When we keep our cars maintained properly, that's when they add value to our busy lives the way they were designed to.