Wear and tear over time is unavoidable when it comes to cars. In the first year of ownership, a new car will lose as much as 20% of its value, simply from the daily stress that’s put on it. However, many people don’t realize that little driving habits and common oversights can have a huge impact on your car, in a bad way. The good news is that you can easily prevent this damage from going any further, by simply making some small adjustments in your everyday driving and vehicle maintenance habits. We worked with professionals at Sheridan Nissan to pull together a list of 6 ways you could be inadvertently damaging your vehicle, and what you can do to stop it.
- Neglecting your tires: There are two things you could be neglecting that will affect your tires: Your tire pressure and your alignment. Underinflated tires wear down faster, and don’t roll as well. A vehicle that’s out of alignment will also wear down tires faster and unevenly. Both things will result in tires that have a shorter lifespan and have a negative impact on your gas mileage. Check your tire pressure regularly, and refill them if need be. Bringing your vehicle in once a year to have the alignment checked is also a good idea.
- Slamming on the brakes: If something unexpected happens and you need to brake as quickly as possible, sometimes you really have to slam on the brakes. On a regular basis, however, you don’t need to. Using your brakes too heavily will wear out the pads and rotors, and take a toll on your vehicle. Whenever possible, give yourself plenty of time to brake gradually.
- Starting too quickly: Just as slamming in the brakes is bad for your car, the same goes for slamming on the gas. Making jackrabbit starts out of every red light and stop sign is unnecessary and a fuel water, but even worse, can have a negative impact on your vehicle. These actions can put considerable stress on your engine and transmission, and cause them to fail prematurely.
- Not changing your oil: Regular oil changes are one of the most simple and important kinds of maintenance you do on your vehicle. The oil in your vehicle lubricates the internal moving parts of your engine so that they can do their job effectively, so running out of oil or keeping old oil in your engine for too long can do some serious damage. Make sure you check your owner’s manual and the recommendation on the type of oil you use to be certain that you get your oil changed on time.
- Not using the right coolant: Unless you buy pre-diluted coolant, you probably mix it with water when you put it into your vehicle. If this is the case, it’s important to make sure that you have at least 50% coolant in your vehicle. While water can serve a similar purpose as far as cooling your engine, the anti-freeze and anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are essential, and water alone cannot provide the benefits that they do. If you’re not confident that you can get the right ratio diluting your coolant on your own, opt for the pre-diluted version.
- Parking in direct sunlight: If you have leather seats, you probably already try to avoid parking in direct sunlight to save the backs of your legs from boiling hot leather seats. Parking in the shade, though, has many more benefits than just keeping your seats cool. Heat and harsh sunlight can cause faded upholstery, cracked dashboards, faded exterior paint, and cloudy headlights. It’s not always possible to find a shady parking spot, but give it a shot if you can, and consider investing in a folding shade for your windshield if you frequently have to park in the sun.