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7 Things You Didn't Know Could Be Harming Your Vehicle

Being a responsible car owner doesn’t start and end with only keeping your car’s interior and exterior clean, or taking it to the shop for regular maintenance. It also involves certain good practices such as using only good-quality spare parts from trusted suppliers, as well as refraining from doing things that could hurt your car’s condition in the long run. The latter is especially important since there are many common habits and practices among car owners that can prove to be detrimental to the upkeep of vehicles. 

Read the following list, and see if you’re unknowingly doing some of these things and harming your trusty vehicle as a result.

Leaning on the brakes when driving on a downhill slope

When driving downhill, it’s a natural reflex to want to keep your foot on the brakes to slow your descent. While this practice certainly helps maintain control, it also adds more wear and tear to your brake pads and discs, causing them to wear out faster. This results in needing to replace the brakes more frequently. Preventing this is easy; just shift to a lower gear when going down slopes, and apply very light pressure on your brakes, letting off now and then. This will give you all the control that you need while being very gentle with your brakes.

Smoking inside your vehicle

Cigarette smoke has chemicals in it that makes it bond to the materials your car’s interior is made of. This means that no matter how much cleaning you do or deodorant spray you use, you’ll never get rid of that awful cigarette stink. The same goes for the ugly discolouration the smoke causes. Avoid smoking inside your car.

Always resting your hand on the gearstick

Resting your hand on the gearstick may seem relatively minor in the grand scheme of overall car care. However, doing so puts unnecessary wear and tear on the parts connected to it, such as the selector fork. By putting constant pressure on the gearstick, you risk stressing out that selector fork and wearing it out faster. Get rid of this habit by trying to keep your hands on the wheel at all times instead.

Washing your car on a sunny day

Washing your car on sunny days may seem like a great way to get some sunlight while giving your car the attention it needs, but it can do more harm than good. Any drops of water that remains on your car’s exterior surface will act as tiny magnifying lenses, focusing the sun’s rays into concentrated points of light that could harm your car’s topcoat. Any cleaning chemical that you use on your car will also dry up very fast, further adding strain on your car’s paint or coating. 

Instead of washing your car on hot and sunny days, consider doing so on cloudy days, or under the protection of a carport or awning.

Shifting from drive to reverse without coming to a full stop beforehand

If your car has an automatic gearbox, then you should know that shifting from drive to reverse without braking into a full stop can hurt your vehicle’s transmission. This is because the practice causes unnecessary strain on the transmission band.

The same goes for cars with manual transmissions. Shifting into reverse without coming to a stop beforehand will cause the gears inside your transmission to grind and squeal, a clear sign that you’re hurting its delicate components. The bottom line is to treat your car’s transmission with care.

Overloading your car past its maximum load limit

One of the most convenient things about having a car is that it can help you carry heavy items when the situation calls for it. However, it’s best to make such times the exception rather than the rule. The more weight you add beyond you car’s maximum load limit, the more strain you’re putting on your car’s load-bearing parts. These include your car’s brakes, its suspension system, and its drivetrain. To keep these important components in tiptop condition for as long as possible, keep your car running light most of the time.

Revving a cold engine immediately after starting it

If your car has been sitting in your garage during a very cold night, then you should take care not to rev the engine excessively when you go to start it up in the morning. This is because revving your engine even before it’s warmed up causes unnecessary wear and tear on its components, which shortening its lifespan considerably.

The culprit of this wear and tear is your car’s electric fuel injection sensors. When these sensors detect that your engine is below normal operating temperature, they will seek to compensate by supplying your engine with more fuel than needed with every press of the gas pedal. This results in fuel splashing into your engine’s cylinder walls, which could then wash away much of the lubricating oil. Improper lubrication means a lot more friction, and thus a lot more wear and tear on components like piston rings and cylinder liners. Avoid this by instead driving your car gently around the block to let it warm up.

Keeping your vehicle in good condition doesn’t only mean getting it cleaned regularly and serviced by competent maintenance professional. It also means doing away with the harmful habits and practices you’ve been accustomed to do. Make sure that you’re not doing any of the things listed above, and your car is sure to enjoy a longer service life.


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