For many people their car is their lifeline. It’s the way they get from A to B, whether for work or enjoyment. It is also one of the first major purchases someone is likely to make. A car reflects independence, your personality and is often a person’s prized or most valuable possession. We can’t help but want to modify our cars to fit our style. We want people to know who we are simply by us driving by. To keep your sweet ride long lasting, there are a few things you should probably never do to your car.
1) Rev your engine to warm it on cold days
New studies and advice from car manufacturers say that you should not rev your engine to warm your car on cold days. And now, for the big shock, you shouldn’t even let your car warm for that 5-10 minutes you normally do. The myth of warming your car started in the days of carburetors which did need some warming. With new gasoline vehicles most manufacturers recommend starting your vehicle and driving it slowly, which will warm your vehicle faster anyway. This occurs because most of the parts, outside of your engine, will not warm up very well even if you were to let your car idle for a while. They will only warm up as you are driving. You can allow your car to run for a couple minutes if it’s too cold for you out, but otherwise you should just get moving. If it’s very cold out, take your time, and drive “softly” so your car has time to warm which will help prevent the extra wear and tear revving your engine while idle would cause.
2) Continue driving your car when it’s overheating
It’s less likely now for cars to overheat than say it was 20 years ago, however if it is a hot day and you are stuck in traffic going up a steep hill, it’s possible. Another common occurrence is not having enough engine coolant in your car, commonly due to leakage. Regardless of why your car is overheating, by continuing to drive your car you are potentially causing all sorts of damage to your engine that you don’t want to deal with. It not only becomes a safety issue, but can also hurt you financially.
1. The first thing to do if your car begins to overheat is to turn off your AC and open the windows. Any load decrease for your engine will help.
2. Next, by turning on the heater you can divert the heat from your engine into your car.
3. Try to get to the side of the road as soon as you can to contact a service shop and have your vehicle looked at.
If you find yourself in stop and go traffic shift into neutral or idle and rev your engine and try not to ride you brakes.
3) Go More than 3 months without oil change or 6 months for synthetic oil
Picture this….sitting at a stop light, pressing on the gas and the car not moving. The music is on, the lights are on, and except for the lack of rpm’s the car seems fine. What happened? The car locked up and it was due to not getting an oil change in who knows how long. At that point the cost to repair the damage was way more than the value of the car. The oil in your car lubricates those thousands of components in your vehicle, allowing it to run smoothly and efficiently. What happens is that when all those parts are moving around, they collect debris, which is reprocessed through the system, causing your oil to thicken and eventually causing your car to not run as efficiently, as well as overheat numerous components. Not changing your oil will result in a slew of problems for your engine, from warped parts, an overheating engine and eventually an engine that no longer works.
4) Ignore tire pressure
Those darn lights on the dashboard can sure be annoying, and half the time people don’t even know what the light is for, or assume there is a fault in the car. However, for an easy fix such as refilling your tires’ air pressure, you can save yourself a lot of inconvenience, time, and money by paying attention to the notification lights on your dash. Ignoring tire pressure can lead to:
• Increase in braking distance
• Uneven wear on your tires resulting in a need to replace them sooner
• Hydroplaning, or slipping on wet surfaces
• More likely to get a flat tire
• Wastes fuel by uneven driving
• Affects you vehicles stability
Ignoring that tire pressure light will eventually cost you in safety, or money, by ignoring the indicator you may end up settling on both.
5) Ignore check engine lights and unusual signs your car makes
Those annoying lights that pop on your dash when you turn your car on, and sometimes don’t go away are pretty important. As well as the annoying beep-beep that accompany them. You see, we have these guys called engineers, and they are smart enough to install notification devices in our vehicles to warn us that, “Hey, something is wrong here!” Ignoring these lights can put you in a world of hurt when something goes bad while you’re driving down the road. If you think about it, the only time your car will break down is when it is going to be an inconvenience to you, such as when you are driving, or when you go to start your vehicle. Your only way of preventing this inconvenience is to bring your car into the shop to figure out what is wrong, and prevent further damage you may cause by procrastinating.
6) Ease your new car into its first 1000 miles, you speed demon
So, you just bought your first brand new car and you can’t wait to take it for a spin—literally. Maybe you want to see how fast you can ride a corner, or go from 0-60. Well, you may want to hold back there a bit. The first miles on your car are some of the most crucial, certainly within the first 1000 miles. Look at your car as a world-class runner or sprinter. That runner is not going to start working out at race speed. In fact, they are likely never to run race speed while practicing or warming up. It would cause them to pull, rip and tear muscles. Your car acts in the same way. It needs time to settle in and warm up. All those gears and devices in your fancy car need time to work together and co-habitate. If you are dodging semis in order to pass someone on the road, slamming on your brakes or hitting those tight corners, all you’re doing is taking the life out of your car and setting yourself up for some serious maintenance costs later.
7) Drive your tank down to empty
Driving with that fuel indicator on E can be a little nerve-racking. You never know quite how long it will take until you feel the spittle of fumes coming out your tailpipe. A little piece of advice though, is most cars will still have 2 gallons left when that empty indicator comes on. Debris, from say a rusted gas tank, can cause trouble for your engine is a myth that can finally be put to rest. First off, modern cars not only have a screen (filter) protecting them from debris, but most gas tanks are coated to avoid corrosion where the supposed debris would likely come from. So, this isn’t really an issue. However, you never want to run your vehicle to empty as that will cause some serious problems with your gas pump. The fuel pump, usually relies on gasoline to keep it lubricated and cool, therefore running out of fuel can cause your gas pump to fail.
8) Wash your car in direct sunlight
It’s summertime and you are ready to vacuum out a winter’s worth of fast-food bags and clean off the salt and grime accumulated over the past four months. However, in the summer, or anywhere without snow piles on the side of the road, you may need to worry about the sun. Washing your car on a hot and sunny day may not be best for your vehicle’s finish. Imagine your car, and how hot that shiny metal gets on a nice warm day. When you add water, the heat of your car nearly burns it off instantly, leaving behind trace residue, soap and grime not cleaned off with the initial spray. In addition, all those little droplets act like a magnifying glass, causing the sun’s rays to in effect begin boiling off that finish on a microscopic level. While you may not see immediate effects of the damage, within a couple years your vehicle will be prone to corrosion, and paint damage.
9) Install a deafeningly loud audio system
Not only is using a loud system in your car considered noise pollution in many towns and cities, but it can come with a ticket often exceeding $150 for each incident. Over time this can add up. However, the reason I mention why a loud audio system is a bad idea is due to the safety aspect, such as distracted driving and hearing loss. Loud music may not feel like distracted driving, however your chances of hearing emergency vehicles, horns honking and pedestrians trying to get your attention are close to zero if you have your music turned all the way up. Not to mention the groove you get into while listening to your favorite tunes, and the personal emotion that causes you to ignore several driving laws as you shake your shoulders and stomp your feet. In addition to distraction, you will face physical consequences such as hearing loss, which is permanent. Consider this. Listening to music on your IPhone, turned all the way up and with ear buds can cause permanent hearing loss after 15 minutes. Your car’s sound system is louder than that.