Have you ever noticed some older vehicles look new while other ones of the same age are falling apart?
Staying on top of regular maintenance keeps your vehicle running better for longer. Here are ten daily driving tips to help you keep your car in good shape and save money maintenance-wise at the same time.
1. Avoid potholes
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is still surprising the number of people I see drive right through potholes even though there is plenty of space to go around them. These, when deep, can not only damage the tire and the wheel, but the impact can also have adverse effects on the suspension and steering components. The whole car will benefit from avoiding or slowing down for potholes, as these repetitive impacts tend to loosen various items in the car, creating rattles and squeaks.
2. Look down the road
It may seem to be another obvious point, but it is important to look down the road not only to see where you are going but also to spot what is on the road itself. You will want to avoid weird looking items on the road that may damage your tires or bounce against the underside of the car. It will also allow you to spot bumps or dips in the road, or at least slow down for them so the impact is not as harsh.
3. Slow down for train tracks
In the same line of thought as the two previous points, slow down for railroad tracks when coming up to a crossing, or when coming up to a bridge on small country roads. These are always uneven with the pavement and create impacts for the wheels, tires and overall car that can be damaging over time.
4. Do not follow trucks up close
You may not have the choice…Getting stuck behind a truck is unavoidable. But as the driver of your vehicle, you can choose how close you are following the said truck. Not only is it safer to leave a greater distance, but you will also be saving your car from flying rocks and other debris which, over time, damage the paint, damage your headlights and windshield. As a bonus, when following a badly maintained older truck, staying far means less black fumes get into the filter of your ventilation system.
5. Take it easy at first
Your car engine is made to run and move your car swiftly but is designed to do so when at operating temperatures. There is no need to idle the car for long, but take it easy for the first few kilometres while the engine goes up to its normal operating temperature. This will save you wear and tear as well as save some fuel; many engines are not as fuel-efficient when cold.
6. Smooth is key
Smoothness in your actions at the wheel is very important, not only for the stability of the car while moving but also for the durability of the vehicle’s components. For example, start braking slowly and a bit earlier than you normally do, so you don’t have to make panic stops all the time. The same applies to lane changes or merging into traffic. By going smoothly the various mechanical parts of the car will not take a hit but actually be able to work as intended, and thus last longer… Plus your passengers will enjoy the ride rather than being tossed around.
7. Floor it sometimes!
It may sound opposite to the previous advice, but your engine does need to be wound up and pushed at times. Wait until it is at proper operating temperatures and once in a while when merging onto highways, for example, step on the gas for swift acceleration. Getting the engine up in revs will allow it to work hard and burn some of the carbon deposit that tends to accumulate around the valve train. Doing this occasionally will help prevent having an engine head all gummed up or covered with carbon deposits.
8. Get to a full stop before reversing
How often do you, in a rush, throw the gear change lever into reverse (R) while the car is still moving? That is the best recipe for early transmission failure. Take the time to reach a full stop before shifting; this applies to any shifting action. Shifting before this full stop means the transmission needs to take the brunt of the momentum while shifting, which causes undue damage over time.
Make sure to also do so when shifting into park (P). Shifting into park on an automatic transmission means you are engaging a very small lever to lock a gear; that lever is not designed to stop the car and having to do so too often will result in premature failure.
9. Steer while rolling
Whenever possible, try to steer only when the car is in motion. Even when doing a parallel parking maneuver, get the car rolling slightly before turning the steering wheel. This will prevent too much effort being exerted on the steering rack and components, the major cause for steering rack failure. Turning the wheels while standing still puts tremendous stress on the whole steering system as it then has to fight with the tire and asphalt friction while the whole weight of the vehicle is on them.
10. Plan errands in one round
As much as possible, try to plan all your errands of the day in one outing. There is nothing more damageable for an engine but to be run for only very short trips while being cold. In doing all errands at once, you reduce the time the engine is running cold and have more chances of having it stay to operating temperatures.
A little bit of caution and understanding of your vehicle by following these daily driving tips will help contribute to keeping your car in good shape.