While most people do not drive their cars off the road and into a ditch, a lot of people pretty much accomplish the same result (trashing their cars) at a much slower pace. Like not having auto insurance, these things just are not smart things to do. If you find that you are doing any of the following things, stop right now. If your car is still running, it might not be too late to mend your ways. Here are eight things you need to stop doing, or never start.
8. Riding the Breaks Down Hills
You can actually wear out your brake pads on a single long hill just by riding them down. Instead, alternate between pressing and laying off the brakes. They will last an awful lot longer this way.
7. Shifting Before You’ve Stopped Completely
Say you’re backing out of a space, and you don’t quite stop before you put the car into drive. That really stresses your transmission. Sooner or later, under that much stress, it will quit on you.
6. Not Using Your Parking Brake
Not many people realize this, but there are only two things that keep your car from rolling: the tiny pin, known as a parking pawl, inside your transmission and your parking brake. If you avoid using your parking brake, it will shorten the life of your transmission.
5. Not Changing Your Oil
Oil keeps your car functioning well. The longer oil works, however, the less effectively it can do its job. Replace it every 5,000 miles (or less). The oil light is your last-chance warning.
4. Using a Pressure Washer on the Engine
If you did this to a human being, you would be arrested for torture (with some exceptions). But while pressure washing your own engine is legal, it may very well dislodge something important to keeping that engine running. Just use a garden hose, Harpo.
3. Leaving on Accessories When You Start Your Car
Your engine receives most of its stresses when you start the car. Having on all your accessories, including the wipers, radio, air conditioning, etc., only makes the process harder. It’s a subtle change, but it makes a big difference over time.
2. Ignoring the Song of Your Sedan
Cars tell you what is wrong, if you listen to their sounds. When something is off, it needs addressing. The less you listen to your car, the more likely you will be to suffer a serious accident that you could have easily prevented.
1. Running Your Car to Empty
When you get down to the “E,” you technically may have another 60 miles or so before you chug to a stop. However, you may cause serious damage to your fuel pump by doing this, as your fuel actually cools the pump. A hot pump is not a good thing to have, believe it.
So, how many of those things were you doing? It’s all right; you don’t have to tell anybody. Besides, a lot of people do many of these things. However, if you were doing them all, you really should be grateful that your car still works at all.