We all love our cars, and do much to keep them shiny and in the best condition possible. At times though, even the smartest of us do some of the dumbest things, that tend to ruin our beloved cars in the long run…
Did you know that…
… driving your car with the music very loud, with heavy bass, loosens the nuts and screws of your car frame, invariably making your car weak and noisy!
We all love cars, but the most important thing that we forget to do before we drive a new car, or any car that we are not familiar with, is read the owner’s manual. The instructions and details given in the manual are very important and should always be followed. All the dos and don’ts on how to drive are mentioned and explained thoroughly in the owner’s manual.
While talking about cars, we must take the transmission into consideration too. The car world is split into two basic species, cars with manual transmission, and cars with automatic transmission. The technique of driving a manual or an automatic car is different, and often we tend to do things unknowingly, which may seem small, but ends up hampering the performance of the vehicle.
It is very important to identify where you go wrong in maintaining cars, and that is why I have compiled a list of the everyday things people do to ruin their cars, and tips on how to avoid them.
Not Using the Parking Brake
The parking brake either is a small pedal located on the left or right side of your accelerator-brake setup, or a lever between the two front seats. It is also known as the handbrake, emergency brake, and parking brake. A lot of people tend to park their cars in ‘drive’ or ‘park’, and completely forget to deploy the parking brake. What happens when you do this is, pressure is put on the transmission of the vehicle to keep it in place, thus prematurely aging your car.
You should always use the parking brake whenever you park your car, be it on a slope or an even surface, and you must remember to disengage it before you start driving.
Shifting in Motion
Shifting from ‘reverse’ to ‘drive’ while in motion is something that we all do when we are in a hurry to get somewhere. The thing is, inside our simple looking transmission lies a very complex set of gears, and when we shift without stopping the car completely, we put pressure on the gears, forcing them to change roles and work as brakes. We also miss out on the fact that we tend to damage the driving shafts while changing from reverse to drive when the car is still in motion, leading to bad suspensions and an even worse and worn-out transmission.
It takes about 5 seconds to stop the car completely and just shift from reverse to drive, but we do tend to disregard those 5 seconds and just shift in a hurry.
Driving in the Wrong Gear
Driving the car in the same gear for a long time, or driving on a low gear, affects the fuel consumption, and can cause wear and tear of the transmission. You must always drive in the right gear for the speed you’re at. Laboring your car because you are in a higher gear turns your car into a fuel guzzler.
For example, you are driving in the fourth gear, and you get on a road that has a bit of an incline. You continue driving up the incline in the fourth gear, and your car starts vibrating, and in some cases, it feels as if the car is getting convulsions. This happens because the fourth gear gives the car speed, not power, and your car needs power when it’s on an incline.
What happens when you drive in a higher gear is that there is some amount of unburnt fuel that gets accumulated, and this residue needs more fuel to help it burn. So the ideal thing to do is to change the gear from the fourth to the third or second, so that your car has enough power to go up the incline without laboring.
Not Pressing the Clutch Completely
Not completely depressing the clutch while changing gears totally ruins your gearbox. In most cars, one cannot change gears without depressing the clutch, but in some cars that are old, you can change gears by just depressing the clutch up to about 90%. When you do not depress your clutch fully, the shifting of the gears become very rough due to lack of clutch fluid being released. This causes considerable damage to your gearbox and clutch plate.
The only way you can prevent this damage from occurring is by depressing the clutch fully.
Improper Way of Putting the Car On and Off
The first thing that we must remember while switching on the car is to check if the radio, wipers, air-conditioner, indicators, and other accessories are switched off. Did you know that most of the engine’s wear happens while switching on the car, and if these accessories are on while the engine is starting, then a big amount of load and pressure comes on the engine.
Another thing that a lot of car owners do is that they rev the car to warm up their engines. You really need not do that, as all you are doing is making the car hot – in literal terms. Revving the car does not warm the car, it just makes the engine work without a lubricant, which is actually pretty bad. Instead, go easy of the revving, and just let your car idle for about 30 seconds.
Driving Down a Slope in Neutral
Sometimes to save on fuel, we tend to put the car in neutral and let it roll down the slope. The only flaw in this deed is that our ever-so-faithful brakes get used a little too much. The constant friction causes faster wear and tear of the brakes, causing them to become weaker with time.
The easiest way to avoid this from happening is to always drive down a slope in gear, and if you do need to slow down, press the clutch and the brake at the same time. This will help arrest any damage done to the brakes.
Not Changing the Oil Regularly
You should not wait till the light indicating that you need an oil change goes off. An oil change every 5000 miles is advised by most car experts to boost the performance of the car. When you do not change the oil in your car regularly, your car does not run smoothly.
Using a good quality oil really helps your car. Most car experts recommend using a good quality synthetic oil to improve a car’s performance.
Pressure Washing the Engine
Due to high-pressure jet sprays, some delicate parts, rubber seals, and wiring can get dislodged or completely come off. Even oil or grease that is actually good for the smooth running of the car gets completely washed off, making your engine literally dry. Driving a car with a smooth-running greasy engine is far better than driving one with a squeaky-clean engine – that will get spoiled in no time.
Instead of using a high-pressure spray, use a garden hose to just wash off the excessive grease. That’s all you need to do so that your engine is clean and still running well.
Not Maintaining the Interior
Interior maintenance is something that many of us neglect. The interiors of the car should be clean and hygienic. Whenever you open a candy wrapper and just throw it somewhere in your car, you are actually helping parasites and insects develop inside your car. Who would want to sit in a car that has fungus or cockroaches, or even flies? The thought of entering a badly kept car disgusts many people. The interior ruin of your car always starts with the first candy wrapper, or the first cigarette that you light up, and it just escalates after that.
The easiest way to maintain your car’s interiors is to get it cleaned thoroughly once in two or three weeks. Vacuuming, shampooing, and polishing your car are tasks that will take a few hours of your time, but they just have to be done so that your car looks sparkling clean and well-maintained.
Not Using Original Parts
While fixing your car, insist on using original spare parts. It does not matter if they are a little more expensive, because original parts last much longer. Original parts are made keeping your car model in mind and are an exact fit.
When you use locally made parts instead of original parts, you might end up losing warranty on the car, and/or face insurance problems. The main problem about locally made generic parts are that they are not made and tested by the original car company, and therefore may be faulty. It is always a wiser option to spend a little more on original parts, and be worry free for a long time, rather than scrounging and buying a generic part and keep spending later for the same thing.
Skipping Out on Servicing
Regular servicing is a must for every car. A trip to the mechanic for a car checkup and service after every 5000 miles that your car has run is advisable. Prolonging your visit to the mechanic may hamper the smooth running of your car. Changing the oil, air-filter, oil-filter, etc., are some of the most basic things that need to be looked into regularly to increase the performance of the car.
Regular servicing helps in smooth functioning of the car, giving you a smoother drive, good pick-up and better fuel efficiency.
Not Topping-up the Fuel
Fuel helps in cooling the fuel pump. So when you drive your car down till empty, you actually just end up cutting down the life of your car. When your car reaches one-fourth of a tankful, it is best to top it up. If you actually drive it till it’s empty, your car will just stop when you are driving, and pushing it till a gas station is a tedious task.
Some car experts say that driving the car till it’s empty causes the fuel injection system to get damaged. Another everyday thing that people do is filling in gas that has been adulterated. Low quality fuel is like poison to the car and should never be used.
Ignoring Tire Pressure and Car Noises
Not maintaining the right tire pressure does end up hampering the performance of your car. When the tire pressure is less, the car lags and pulls, and every bump on the road is felt. This is not good for the suspension of the car. When your car starts making noises, you should not ignore them. Noises are your car’s way of telling you that some part of your car needs repairs.
Driving with the right tire pressure makes your car fuel-efficient and smooth. In general, your car should not be making any noises except the permissible noises made by the engine.
It’s a known fact that no one is perfect when it comes to maintaining their cars. The least we can do is drive and maintain our four-wheeled companions in an optimum way to get the best results.