Damage to your car begins the moment you drive it off the lot. We all know this, but there are ways to speed up this damage without even realizing it, setting yourself up for some hefty repair bills in the future. Unfortunately, many of the following are common habits, and Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission technicians see drivers unwittingly shortening the lives of their cars every day. Here are some of the worst habits we’ve seen, and how you can turn them around to prevent damage to your car.
1) Maintenance Habit: Going too long between oil changes
Yeah, we get it, you’d rather do anything than get an oil change. But your engine oil serves a vital purpose in protecting your vehicle and waiting too long to get it changed is asking for trouble. Your oil cools the engine, cleans engine parts and lubricates the engine as it passes through your drivetrain. As a result, the oil becomes dirty, and it can no longer perform these functions well. The filter is there to filter out the bigger particles. What people don’t know is the oil filter has a by-pass valve or pressure relief valve. The bypass valve, otherwise known as a pressure relief valve is an integral part of the oil filter. The valve is designed to open when the oil filter becomes clogged or when the oil is too thick. The oil then goes straight to the engine to prevent oil starvation and the damage that that can cause. Once your filter goes into bypass, you have no filtering of your oil and damage to internal engine components can occur very quickly. As an engine ages it can start to burn some oil. My first car burned oil pretty bad. Oil burn off requires you to check the oil frequently, add oil as necessary so that you don’t run the engine without oil. This will quickly leave you broken down on the highway. So, make sure you know your car’s service intervals, and get your oil replaced before the wear and tear adds up.
2) Driving Habit: Letting gas get too low
The temptation to drive with a low gas level is pervasive. After all, who wants to take time out of their day to fuel up, or spend the money to do it? Unfortunately, letting your gas level get too low can damage your car in the long term. Here’s why: Over time, sediment can build up in the bottom of your fuel tank. This is fine, provided your gas level doesn’t get too low. But once your fuel injection system starts draining from the bottom of your tank, it can pick up this sediment, and it can get caught further along the fuel system, even in the engine. This sediment can damage the inside of your fuel system and engine, ultimately requiring expensive repairs.
3) Driving Habit: Rapid Acceleration & Braking
You might feel like a race car driver and most cars can make those quick maneuvers or sudden changes in speed. Unless built for racing, vehicles today don’t possess the heavy-duty parts that allow Racers to push the limits of their vehicle. Constantly driving to the limits of your vehicle capabilities will cause damage all along your drivetrain, and hard sudden braking wears down your brake pads and cause them to overheat, which will reduce their effectiveness as you drive. At Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission we see the damage that aggressive driving habits can have on a vehicle. Whether it is warped brake rotors, wheel bearings that have been extremely over heated and failed, turbo’s that are making noise or a transmission that is slipping are all products of aggressive or hard driving. In the end aggressive driving habits can cause rapid wear and tear on your vehicle which leads you toward a hefty bill at the automotive shop. Remember, your car is designed for safety first, which means that precision handling and other advantages that racing vehicles possess are completely foreign to your car.
4) Driving Habit: Not Using the Parking Brake
Because it is also known as the emergency brake, many people only associate the parking brake with vehicles with manual transmissions. When putting your automatic transmission into Park engages a lock-out feature called a parking pawl. When you park without engaging the parking brake, the weight of your car rests on this single piece of the transmission system. The parking pawl of your transmission is very convenient but is not made to hold the vehicle on any type of incline. Using the parking brake every time you turn off your car’s ignition, even if you aren’t parked on an incline, will protect your car’s transmission. The parking brake engages the braking system to hold the car taking load off of the transmission.
5) Maintenance Habit: Ignoring Subtle Warnings
If you begin hearing odd noises from your car, smell unusual odors or feel a difference in your car’s handling, you could be one of the lucky few who gets a warning before a major problem with your vehicle. Don’t waste this opportunity! Quickly report what you’re experiencing to your trusted automotive technician or one of us at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission, so they can evaluate the issue and recommend a course of action to prevent accelerated damage. Simple preventive maintenance could keep you from getting stranded on the side of the road.
It can be easy to think that your bad car habits are no big deal. That’s because most of them cause damage over a long stretch of time. But trust us, letting these behaviors continue can be disastrous down the line. Don’t let some easily-fixed habits ruin your car before its time. Come talk with us at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission for routine maintenance and tips on how to preserve your car’s good health.