Bad driving habits themselves can ruin your car or truck, and that's true even if your bad driving doesn't cause a crash that totals the vehicle. Read the advice from our experienced auto repair team below.
Don't Start Slowly
This one is primarily about fuel economy, but it may also be a matter of personal safety – there's no reason to start driving more slowly than traffic. Some new drivers have been taught not to “jackrabbit” at start, and it's generally true. But starting at very low speeds stops your auto from working as intended and can tax the engine and transmission. The best idea is to drive with traffic.
Don't Empty the Tank
There are 3 main reasons not to drive close to empty, and only 1 involves running out of gas. One of the other reasons is that sediment in gas settles on the bottom of your gas tank, so when the level is low your engine has to send that grit through the fuel lines. This might cause a clog and will also cause your engine to work extra hard. The other reason is that for many vehicles, gas or diesel in the tank helps cool the fuel pump, making it last longer and work better. If you don't have enough, your fuel pump could overheat and wear out more quickly.
Don't Rev the Engine or Idle
We have written about engine idling previously, and the best advice is that you should avoid idling for more than about 60 seconds. It's also unwise to rev your engine while stopped, especially if your engine is cold. If you do, the engine oil won't circulate properly and the catalytic convertor won't work. Going straight from cold to hot isn't good either.
Don't Drive Aggressively
You're not Vin Diesel from “Fast and Furious.” Obviously the bad habit of darting off and then slamming on the brakes is far more likely to cause a wreck. But beyond that, shotgunning at intersections and braking hard is rough on your brakes, engine and transmission. It's only natural to show off a fast vehicle, but we think that showing off breaks cars.
Don't Abuse the Transmission
It can be tricky to handle the transmission properly. First, don't ever change directions or park while your car is still moving. Next, don't shift into park and leave the car without also putting on the parking brake. If it so happens that you do, all the weight of your car or truck will rest against the transmission itself. For manual transmission vehicles, be careful not to hold down the clutch when you aren't shifting. These easy tricks could save you cash in the long run.
Don't Push the Speed Limit
It can be a thrill to race down the interstate, passing all the slower cars and proving your handling prowess as you weave through the lanes and around the curves. But driving too fast can actually be hard on your engine. Our automobile team at Christian Brothers in Houston, Texas, says that most cars and trucks perform best at forty to sixty miles per hour. If you drive faster than that, the engine will use more fuel mile by mile and your transmission may not be able to keep up. Also, driving that fast means extra stress on all the small moving parts of your engine, and that can cause early wear. Driving at the limit is the best way to show that you love your vehicle.
Call us for an Engine Check
In addition to driving wisely, keep your ride clean inside and out. You should also be careful to check the tires, oil and lights often. And every so often, bring your car in to your West Road Christian Brothers shop for a diagnostic and analysis.