Buying a car is a big investment, and for most of us, a car is something we want keep running as long as possible. But sometimes our own bad habits are a car’s worst enemy. Which ones are you guilty of?
1.Ignoring the Parking Brake
Even if you’re parked on a level surface, there’s really no reason not to use the parking brake. Not engaging the parking brake puts the entire weight of your vehicle on a little piece of metal in the transmission called the parking pawl. It’s only about as big as your finger, so it can wear out or break eventually from holding all that weight. Using the parking brake evens the load, helping delicate transmission components last longer.
2.Keeping the Gas Tank Low
Lots of us have been in a situation where putting Shs20,000 in the gas tank is the best we can do at the time. What you might not know is that ponying up a little extra could help to prevent damaging a car’s fuel system. Many fuel pumps keep cool by staying submerged in the fuel in the tank, so if you’re regularly running at a quarter full or less, you risk speeding up the need for a fuel pump replacement. Paying a little more at the gas station might sting, but it won’t hurt nearly as much as needing a new fuel pump.
3.Suddenly Shifting From Reverse to Drive
Picture this: you’re backing out of a parking space. The coast is clear, so you flick the shifter and start moving forward. Sound familiar? This might not seem so bad in the moment, but over time sudden direction changes like this can really damage your drivetrain. Instead, come to a complete stop before switching. It only adds a second of time and will save you from future engine, transmission, or axle damage.
4.Revving Before the Engine Is Warm
Letting your car sit for a minute or two right after it starts is a good idea. It helps distribute oil throughout the engine and get the engine block and engine oil up to temperature. Revving the engine won’t speed up the process. In fact, that could cause easily avoided damage. Cold revving causes abrupt temperature changes that create stress between the engine’s tight-fitting components. Simply give it 60 seconds before you get on the road, and everything will have warmed up for reliable performance.
5.Flooring It When You Don’t Need To
Every car enthusiast feels the temptation for a full-throttle blast every once in a while. A problem with that is that you usually need to mash on the brakes to slow back down. Neither is good for your car. Hard acceleration burns a ton of fuel (ok, maybe not for a Tesla) and places heavy load on drivetrain components. Full-force stops cause rapid wear to the brake pads and rotors. Resist the urge to drive like this. If you can’t, know that repair bills will arrive sooner than later.
6.Using the Shifter as a Hand Rest
Driving a manual transmission car can be great fun, and when you’re rowing through the gears, it feels natural to leave one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the shift lever. Don’t. Leaving your hand on the shifter causes puts strain on the transmission’s bushings and synchronizers, leading to premature wear. It’s best to keep both hands on the wheel anyway. You’ll help your transmission, and be able to take control if you need to make a sudden steering maneuver.
7.Abusing the Clutch
Lots of stick shift drivers do this one. When you’re at a stop, you keep the clutch pushed to the floor. That way you can inch forward as traffic moves, or be ready to take off when the light turns green. However, keeping the clutch in when you’re stopped causes its surfaces to scrape against each other, wearing them out and creating the possibility of failure. It also can cause damage to the release bearing, release arm, and pressure plate. Instead of riding the clutch with the shifter in gear, find Neutral with the shifter and let the clutch out. When it’s time to go, put the clutch in, grab first, and drive.
8.Carrying Too Much Weight
The more a car weighs, the more stress it places on its drivetrain, suspension, and brakes, and the more fuel it consumes – it’s as simple as that. Do what you can to keep your car as light as possible. We’re not suggesting ripping out the air conditioning or sound system, but clean out any unnecessary junk. While a few pounds of weight removed might only give you an extra mile on a tank of gas, it can really make a difference in the long run. Make sure your car is stocked with the essentials you need on a daily basis and store the rest somewhere else.
9.Riding the Brakes Downhill
Sometimes you’ve got to brake when going downhill to keep from going way too fast. But this causes heat to build up in the brake pads and rotors, causing wear and increasing the risk that they will overheat or warp. As a solution, try shifting into a lower gear. The natural decompression that occurs in the drivetrain will help keep the car at a safe speed. That way, if you do need to hit the brakes, you’ll find they’re more effective.
10. Neglecting Warning Signs
When something’s going wrong with your car, chances are it will try to tell you. Any strange vibrations, intermittent squeaks, occasional knocks, or other unusual symptoms should be inspected right away. You might not feel any problems but the longer you wait, the more trouble you could be in if a part suddenly fails and you’re left stranded on the side of the road.
Source: Popular Mechanics
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