A car is a significant investment for a lot of people. You spent your hard-earned money on it, so you endeavour to keep it running smoothly and looking great for as long possible. However, little did you know that some “innocent” habits can actually shorten the lifespan of your car.
Here’s a list of some of the ways you’re unknowingly harming your vehicle. Hopefully, this will help you avoid such practices, allowing you to save yourself from unnecessary headache.
Not Using the Parking Brake
Your parking brake is designed for just that: parking. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a flat surface or an incline. Use your parking brake every single time. If you don’t, the weight of your car will rest on a part of your car called the parking pawl. This component is like a pin that stops your car’s wheels from rotating, and it’s quite small, so it really isn’t designed to bear your car’s full weight. Engaging the parking brake will distribute the load better, which will then help prolong the life of transmission parts like the parking pawl.
Putting Off Repairs for “Next Time”
Small car troubles are easy to dismiss, especially if they don’t have any noticeable effects on how your car runs. However, these small troubles can quickly build up into bigger problems. It’s better to address these issues as soon as possible and spend a bit of money, instead of putting them off for “next time” and then spending a whole lot more.
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If you’re worried about repair shop fees, don’t fret. You don’t have to bring your car to the shop every time there’s something that needs fixing. There are plenty of car maintenance procedures that you can easily do yourself. Just make sure that you know how to do them properly, and that you go to a reliable auto parts supplier if you need replacement parts. If you live in the Christchurch area, you can check out Hi Tech Auto PartsWorld, which sells a range of high-quality components. Naturally, for more complicated repairs, it’s still best to take your vehicle to a trusted car technician.
Not Changing the Oil Regularly
Nowadays, cars engines are engineered to last longer in between oil changes. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow a regular oil change schedule. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended interval, and have your oil changed when you hit that number, even if the maintenance light in your car hasn’t switched on yet. Alternatively, you should change your oil when your car’s maintenance light comes on, even if you haven’t reached the recommended oil change interval yet. When in doubt, go to a car shop, and have your oil checked. This way, a technician can also determine if your engine oil has been contaminated with traces of water and metal residues, making it due for an early replacement.
Keeping a Gas Tank Barely Filled
Did you know that consistently keeping your tank at a low fill level can damage your fuel pump? That’s because many fuel pumps are designed to maintain ideal temperatures by keeping them submerged in fuel. Therefore, if you keep your gas tank near-empty or barely a quarter full, you can prematurely damage the fuel pump. Spending a little more at the petrol station will save you from spending a lot of money for a pump replacement later on.
Not Monitoring Tyre Pressure
If your tyres are over- or under-inflated, not only will your car’s handling and fuel economy suffer; your tyres themselves can also get damaged prematurely. Prevent this from happening by checking your car’s tyre pressure regularly. The correct psi is indicated in the owner’s manual as well as the door pillar on the driver’s side. It’s a good idea to get your own tyre pressure gauge so you can perform a check at any time.
Not Stopping Before Shifting From Reverse to Drive
Sudden shifts from reverse to drive and vice versa can put a strain on your car’s drivetrain components like the transmission and axle. To avoid damaging crucial components, what you should do instead is to stop completely before making the shift. Spending a few seconds to do this will go a long way in keeping your car’s drivetrain in tiptop condition.
Not Washing (and Waxing) Your Vehicle Regularly
Washing your car isn’t just for aesthetic purposes. It also helps keep your car’s undercarriage safe from road contaminants, which can cause rusting and other kinds of damage. You may be able to wash your car in your own driveway depending on existing laws in your locality, but also consider bringing your car in for professional wash so the undercarriage can be cleaned thoroughly. You should also wax your car regularly to help protect its paint and prevent the colour from dulling. Waxing four times a year is ideal, but a twice-a-year schedule could suffice if you don’t drive all that often.
Resting Your Hand on the Shifter
There are a lot of drivers who use the shift stick on a manual transmission vehicle as a sort of hand rest. This is a bad habit since it can cause premature wear and tear to the bushings, synchronisers, and other components. As such, make sure to keep both of your hands on the wheel not only to protect the transmission but also to enable quicker response just in case you need to make sudden turns (e.g. to avoid accidents).
Loading Too-Heavy Cargo
Even if your vehicle is designed to bear heavy loads, it’s not a good idea to load it to full capacity at all times. Keeping the load as light as possible will help protect the brakes, drivetrain, and suspension, and it can even improve mileage, too. This is not to say that you shouldn’t make your car work for you. However, if you can limit the weight that your vehicle has to carry, it would help extend the lifespan of a lot of its components. Just keep the essentials like emergency tools, and leave the rest in your garage when you don’t really need them.
Not Driving It
Obviously, you want to protect your vehicle and not abuse it. However, your vehicle is meant to be driven. If you don’t drive it enough, it can cause problems like out-of-round tyres, stale petrol, and a dead battery. It’s best to take your car out occasionally for even just a short drive to “get things going.” Have a friend or family member “car sit” for you if you won’t be using it for a while. Otherwise, prepare your car properly for long-term storage.
Are you guilty of doing these things? It’s time to ditch these bad habits! Your car (and your wallet) will thank you for it.
Author: I’m Jaylin: SEO Expert of Leelija Web Solutions. I am a content manager, and the author of elivestory.com and a full time blogger. Favorite things include my camera, travelling, caring my fitness, food and my fashion. Email id: email@example.com