Your car is one of your greatest investments, along with your home and your family. Most drivers want to keep their car running smoothly and looking sharp for at least ten years, maybe more. With that in mind, you need to be aware of things you do unintentionally that can have a negative effect on your ride’s longevity. Wear and tear is a normal facet of a car’s life and you will need repairs at some point. However, bad habits will accelerate this need. So, let’s look at some common bad habits and how you can change them for your car’s sake.
The first of these bad habits to change is carrying too much weight, either in the trunk, inside the car, or on top of the car. The more weight you drive around with, the harder your shocks and struts have to work. Also, there is your drivetrain, wheel alignment, and brakes. They are all working double-time as well. Keeping proper weight limits on your cargo can save you money at the repair shop.
A second bad habit to look at and change is revving your engine after a cold start. We’ve all done it, especially on a bitterly cold morning. We want to “warm up” the engine and get the oil flowing as fast as possible. However, “revving” will not speed anything up. Instead, it will cause some of the tightly fitted engine components to prematurely wear out or be damaged. Best to take some extra time in the morning and just let the engine idle for 5-10 minutes.
Next, neglecting your parking brake. Did you know that most drivers don’t use their parking brakes at all? First, that can be a safety issue for sure if you are parked on a hill or some uneven ground. Second, it hurts your car because all of its weight is resting on a single piece of the transmission in the “P” position. In time, you weaken the gear shifter and most likely damage other components in the transmission. Use your parking brake every time!
On the subject of neglect, not paying attention to the warning signs your car gives you is another bad habit a lot of us have. Of course, you should pay attention to the warning indicators on your dashboard, but it goes deeper than that. As a driver, you know your car. You have a second sense feel about it. When driving, if you hear strange noises, feel weird vibrations, or smell burnt odors, don’t wait to get it looked at and fixed! These problems won’t go away on their own. You procrastinate on fixing them and they’ll get worse…and costlier to repair!
Okay, here’s a REAL BAD ONE. Quick shifting without braking first. What we mean by this is when you decide to either backup or go forward and you shift too quickly with no stopping of your car. Yikes! Just talking about it sends cold chills down your back! Being in a hurry is understandable, but remember your car is a sensitive piece of machinery. Quick shifting causes a lot of damage to the transmission because that is simply not how we are supposed to change gears for going in the opposite direction! If you love your car, don’t do it!
Now that we got the nastiest of the bad habits out of the way, let’s talk about a couple of more pedestrian habits that can hurt your car. Using your brakes while driving downhill. Using your brakes while driving down a steep slope generates immense amount friction causing the brake pads and rotor to heat up to a dangerous level. The brakes wear out faster, increasing the chances of brake failure. If at all possible, shift down to a lower gear while going down that steep slope and apply brakes sparingly.
Finally, a bad habit nearly all of us do at one time or another, run the car nearly to “E”. Most drivers do not keep a full tank of gas. Even more run their cars until the “low fuel” light comes on the dash. Did you know that driving on a small amount of fuel causes the fuel pump to wear out quickly and leads to bad mileage? This is because when there is the right amount of fuel in the tank, the fuel pump stays submerged in it, which allows it to stay cool. As soon as it is exposed to the air inside the tank, it starts to heat up. Not good. Also, gasoline sediments settle to the bottom of your gas tank. If you let your tank go dry, these sediments can go into your fuel line and end up harming your engine. Always travel with half a tank of gas at least.
Hopefully we gave you some food for thought today. It’s sometimes hard to change bad habits like those mentioned above, but if you keep the health of your car and your pocketbook in mind change is a lot easier.
Pete Solis Collision Center is El Paso’s Auto Body Shop! With over 47 years of experience behind us, we are the top choice for bodywork, paint, and more. We are the home to ICAR certified professional body shop technicians, as well as quality Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes. Pete Solis Collision Center is located at 1434 Lomaland Dr. in El Paso, Texas. Give us a call today at (915) 599-8666. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.