Reckless driving habits themselves can ruin your truck or car, and that's true even if you don't wreck. Below are a few tips on avoiding these bad habits so your car works better and lasts longer.
Don't Push the Speed Limit
It can be a thrill to race down the interstate, passing all the other cars and proving your handling prowess as you get through the lanes and around the curves. But realize that driving like this can break the car. Our team at Christian Brothers in Land O' Lakes says that most cars and trucks do best at between 40 and 60 mph. If you drive faster than that, the engine will use more fuel per mile driven and your transmission will wear out. Also, operating at top capacity means extra stress on all your engine parts, and that can cause it to wear out more quickly. Driving at posted speed limits is the perfect way to display your pride.
Don't Shift Like a Novice
It can be tricky to handle the transmission properly. We'll just go over some of the ways. First, don't ever shift into park or reverse while your car is moving. Next, don't go into park and run off without using the E brake. If you do, all the weight of your automobile will rest against the transmission itself. For stick shifts, be careful not to hold down the clutch between shifting. These little tricks could save you many hundreds of dollars.
Don't Drive Aggressively
You're not Vin Diesel from “Fast and Furious.” One of the most obvious reasons not to drive too fast, of course, is that this behavior is far more likely to cause an accident. But also, shotgunning at intersections and braking hard is rough on your brakes, engine and transmission. It's clear why you want to show off a fast vehicle, but we think that trying to show off too much will be destructive down the road.
Don't Idle or Rev
We have talked about engine idling before, and the truth is that you shouldn't ever idle the engine for more than about 60 seconds. It's also unwise to rev your engine, especially if you're doing so with a cold engine. When you do, oil and fluids won't circulate properly and the catalytic convertor won't work. Furthermore, subjecting all the tiny parts of your engine to extreme shifts from cold to hot can cause widespread damage.
Don't Drive on Empty
Know about two ways that emptying your car of diesel or regular gas or keeping the level low is harmful. Sediment in fuel settles on the bottom of your fuel tank, so when it's almost empty your fuel pump has to force that sediment through the fuel ignition system. This causes buildup and can also require your engine to work a little harder than necessary. Furthermore, gas or diesel in the tank usually helps cool the part that pumps fuel, making it work better. If you don't have enough, your fuel pump could get hot and wear out easily.
Avoid Really Slow Acceleration
This one is primarily about fuel economy, but it may also be a matter of personal safety – it's not a good idea to accelerate too slowly. Some people have been taught not to “jackrabbit” at start, and the general principle is a good one. But getting going too slowly prevents your car from working as intended and can tax the engine and transmission. Drive at expected speeds.
Come in for a Checkup
In addition to driving wisely, keep your ride tidy inside and out. You should also be sure to check the oil, the tires and the lights often. And at regular intervals, bring your car or truck in to your Land O' Lakes Christian Brothers location for a professional checkup.