How You’re Killing Your Car Faster Than You Could Have Ever Imagined.
You may actually be shocked at some of the ways we ruin our cars. In many cases, it’s doing things that you were actually told to do.
There is a whole lot of really bad advice out there and we are going to set the record straight “right here, right now” – Fatboy Slim style.
You may not do some of the things below, but, some of them you just might be doing without even realising it. If so, you’re going to want to stop them right away.
Things You Should Never Do To Your Vehicles.
1. Shift Into Reverse Before Coming To A Complete Stop.
This is just plain maniacal. Most people just don’t realise that the average car weighs in at about 4,000 pounds. This means that, the average car traveling at only 4 miles per hour has more total force than a bullet fired from an AK 47 assault rifle (7.62 caliber).
That’s a lot of force to have your transmission attempt to stop. The biggest thing is, it’s force, which it isn’t designed to withstand. When you apply forces to mechanical parts, which were not designed to withstand, the failure can potentially be catastrophic.
2. Not Using Your Handbrake.
If you’re on any type of a gradient at all, even the slightest gradient, make sure you use your parking brake.
The parking position in your automatic transmission was not designed to hold the weight of the average car. So, it sure isn’t designed to do it with the gravity caused by parking on a hill.
You just can’t do that very many times before something gives. When it does, your vehicle will fly down the hill and your insurance company will be pulling your pants down.
3. Never Start Your Car With The Air Conditioning On.
Your AC is connected to your serpentine belt. This means that your car must use extra starting power to also crank your AC while it’s starting.
What’s the most stressful thing your engine does all day? Start.
Because there’s no oil being pumped up and dripping down yet. When engines start with no lubrication, you have wear, lots of wear.
So, why would you want to put even more stress on your engine right at the moment it’s least protected?
It’s easy, just flip your AC off right before you switch your car off. It takes maybe a second and can improve your engine life substantially.
4. Don’t Pressure Wash Your Engine.
You may think you need to clean your car’s motor, or want to do so because you like the look of it. But, there is really no need for it and you have amazing potential to do harm.
Pressure washing forces water into the closed modules of your engine where electronics are housed, plus it loosens wiring, tubing, fittings and more.
If you feel compelled to pressure wash your car even though you know you shouldn’t, then at least let it dry before you drive away. This way you’ll minimize the water saturating or being sucked into parts like electronics.
5. Running On Empty.
Here’s one most people don’t know about. You should never run your car’s fuel, down close to empty. Yes, people do this thinking that they are saving money on gas because they are not carrying that extra fuel weight.
However, the fuel in your gas tank helps to cool your fuel pump. Running with less than a 1/4 tank is causing your fuel pump to run much hotter than it should, generally causing a shorter life span for it.
6. Ignoring Your Check Engine Light
We covered this last week here. Yes, there are a ton of scams out there where mechanics rip you off with the check engine light scam.
But, that aside. you should not just ignore it. It’s indicating that there could be a problem somewhere and at a minimum you should check it out.
Go to our check engine light scam article we linked to above. There you’ll see how to diagnose it, avoid the scams and how to fix it.
7. Not Properly Cooling Your Engine
Keeping your engine cool is paramount to it having a long life. That’s just a plain old fact.
So, you should not just add water to your radiator but a mix of water and coolant or antifreeze as it may be called in your geographic location.
Most of the time a 50/50 ration is going to be acceptable. However, you should always consult the manual specific to your vehicle. You can get great vehicle workshop manuals here.
Proper Care Equals Longer Life
Be sure to take care of your car and avoid the things we’ve discussed above. You’ll get a lot more from your car and increase both its lifespan and safety when you need it most.