Car Expert Reveals This Simple Mistake Could Invalidate Your Car Warranty

Vehicle maintenance isn’t always a smooth ride; various factors such as vehicle make and model, driving habits, and evolving technology can add layers of complexity.

Car warranty providers, ALA Insurance, have looked into searches related to car maintenance and found that searches for “should I check my oil when the engine is hot or cold” and “check engine oil with car on or off” are both up a staggering 5000% over the past 30 days.

Callum Butler from ALA Insurance says: “Many people unknowingly void warranties by neglecting manufacturer guidelines. Simple errors like improper oil changes or using incorrect oil grades can jeopardise your claims.This is because policyholders are expected to follow basic manufacturer guidelines and exercise caution while doing so.”

He adds: “While it may seem like a simple task, checking oil levels while the engine is running can pose significant risks to both the vehicle and its owner. It’s important to follow manufacturer recommendations and ensure the engine is off before conducting maintenance.” 

With this in mind, Callum and the team from ALA have shared what should be avoided while your engine is running:

Conducting maintenance checks

Steer clear of performing any maintenance checks, such as changing or checking oil fluid levels or adjusting engine components, while the engine is running.

It’s essential to check the oil level regularly, ideally every month or before long trips, to monitor for any abnormalities or leaks. Safety should always come first when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

Callum explains: “Performing maintenance checks with a running engine poses risks due to moving parts and hot surfaces, increasing the likelihood of injury. Instead, turn off the engine and allow it to cool down before carrying out any necessary maintenance.”

Refuelling your vehicle

Ever heard the saying about not mixing fire and fuel? Well, it should come as no surprise that you should never refuel your vehicle while the engine is running.

Callum advises: “Precaution is key, make sure to turn off the engine and wait for any residual heat to dissipate before refuelling. This minimises the risk of fuel vapours igniting, which could pose a serious fire hazard.”

Cleaning the engine bay

Before rolling up your sleeves to clean your engine bay, make sure your engine is off and cool before cleaning.

Calum warns: “Water or cleaning agents coming into contact with hot engine components can lead to steam or chemical reactions, which can result in injury or damage to the vehicle.”

He continues: “Maintaining your vehicle’s cleanliness is important, but so is your safety. Always switch off the engine and wait for it to cool down before cleaning to prevent accidents and keep your vehicle in top condition.” 

Leaving your vehicle unattended

Never leave a vehicle unattended with your engine running, even for a short period of time. 

“It may seem like an obvious observation but unattended running vehicles are much more susceptible to theft. In vehicles with keyless ignition systems, the ignition button or start/stop switch might be easily accessible from outside the vehicle, increasing the risk of accidental activation if touched unintentionally,” Calum explains.

“Always switch off the engine and secure the vehicle before leaving it unattended, even if you just need to pop inside for a minute. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”