Over the years, we all develop habits. Some are good, and some are bad. Maybe you are in the habit of always wearing clean underwear. Good for you, you’ll never risk embarrassment in the event of an accident. On the other hand, maybe your habits include an extra doughnut each day with your cup of morning Joe. That may cost you in the long run, for bigger pants at the very least.
Habits are usually born out of repetitive processes, and there are few activities better suited for the formation of habits than daily driving. Most of the idiosyncrasies a driver develops are benign, but some can put unnecessary stresses on a vehicle.
Check Yourself – Are You Loving Your Car the Way You Should?
Take a look at the list below and see if you have picked up any of these habits along the way. Breaking them now could save you big bucks in the future.
Waiting to Fill Up
If you let your gas tank get down to fumes, you run the risk of allowing any dirt or other sediments at the bottom of the tank to be sucked into your engine. This can cause unnecessary wear on the fuel pump and premature fouling of fuel filters.
Ignoring Warning Lights
Today’s automobiles have sophisticated computer systems to give you a heads up when things go wrong. Don’t think that you can fix a warning light just by putting duct tape over it so it doesn’t annoy you. Address the problem before it gets out of hand.
Keep to the Schedule
Regularly scheduled service can be expensive and come up at inconvenient times, but the couple of hours you will spend getting your oil changed is far less inconvenient (and costly) than the days or weeks you will be on foot after the sludge in your crankcase blows up your engine.
Love Your Transmission
Several little mindless habits can put unnecessary wear on a car’s transmission. Many drivers drive with their hand resting on the gear stick, but this can be damaging. There is a control rod at the base of the gear shift that has selector forks that extend into the gearbox. These forks are only designed to come into contact with the gears for a short amount of time. Constant pressure from the weight of your hand can wear down the forks and the gears setting you up for a future headache.
If you drive a car with standard transmission, don’t “write the clutch.” Partial activation of the pressure plate can cause heat buildup leading to warping and the need for replacement. Also, make sure you are driving in the correct gear. Being into low or too high a gear puts unnecessary strain on the engine and can lead to expensive repairs.
Don’t Skip the Parking Brake
When you skip pulling the parking brake, one tiny piece of the transmission (a little pin called the “pawl”) is all that is holding the entire weight of your car in place. If the pawl were to give way while you were parked on an incline, let’s just say we hope there was nothing for your car to run into at the bottom of the hill. Distribute the force necessary for keeping your car in place by activating your parking brake.
And Speaking of Brakes…
Sudden starts and stops put unnecessary strain on many of a car’s components. Not only that, if you find yourself stopping short regularly behind other drivers, you are probably following too closely. Back off and reduce the risk of meeting someone “by accident.”