By Mike Cross, founder of Auto Guys Land
Editor’s Note: We want to welcome Mike to the NMA blog. He will write posts on auto maintenance and repair periodically.
Why is it that some cars bought long ago still look great while others over a very short time, break down quickly after the same amount of driving? We’re talking the paint is peeling off, the car is covered in scratches, and overall, it looks like a hot mess. Here are nine daily driving tips to make sure your car does not end up that way.
Stay Away From Potholes
It doesn’t matter the size of the pothole, because if we hit one, we know it! Driving through a pothole puts the entire vehicle under tremendous pressure. Hitting just one can damage tires, the wheels, and maybe even other car parts. Therefore, you should avoid the pothole or, and if not possible, and you see, slow down as you pass it. Doing so helps the vehicle to withstand lighter pressure as well as reducing tire wear. If you can’t see the hole before it hits, all you can is hope nothing happened!
Avoid Obstacles On The Way
The road surface is always full of obstacles, such as screws, glue, bird droppings, spark plugs, objects falling on the way, etc. They can break down your tires or, in the worst scenario, lead to a car crash in the middle of the road. Keep those eyes on the road at all times so that you know when to slow down, change lanes, or slightly swerve to avoid an impact.
Go Slower Over Train Tracks
Oh, man…crossing train tracks can be rough. Similar to a pothole except you generally know it is ahead. Go as slow as you can to protect your car to avoid a strong impact on the tires and the entire vehicle.
Avoid Driving Close To Trucks
Learn how to drive near large trucks effectively. On highways, it is difficult to avoid the moving monsters at high speed. Control your vehicle and make sure you do not drive in the truck’s blind spot. Trucks, especially in winter and harvest time, can unwittingly throw debris into or on top of your vehicle, which will cause the paint to curl, and perhaps even scratch your front-lights and windshield.
Truck exhaust can also fly into your car’s ventilation system, which is not good for you or your air filter. Best is to drive past large trucks as soon as safely possible.
Other trucks to avoid include pickups or car/pickups with trailers that hauling loose debris or even furnishings that could fly out and hurt your vehicle or land in the road in front of you. Again, drive past them as soon as safely possible.
Do Everything Slowly At The Beginning and at Speed the Rest of the Time
When you first start your engine, don’t accelerate too quickly…think of your vehicle like a person who is waking up and let it warm up first. If you accelerate too quickly at any time, it places more wear and tear on your engine, and not only that, you waste fuel. Also, make sure you have enough time to reach your destination, so you don’t have to drive like a speed demon, and you don’t receive a ticket.
Drive As Smoothly As Possible
One of the great pleasures of driving is the ebb and flow of the movement of the car or truck. Don’t make curves as if you are at the Indy 500. Smooth and steady will always be more pleasurable to both you and your passengers. Also, don’t make it a habit to hard brake frequently. Brake slowly and sooner. After all, you want your car to last, and that includes your brakes.
Stop Completely Before Parking
When you want to park, come to a complete stop before you turn off your vehicle. Otherwise, your engine will suffer from the impact of momentum, and that will not do your car any good.
Let The Wheels Roll When Changing Direction
Every time you want to change the direction of the wheel, always try to let it roll.
Never stop the vehicle completely and then turn the wheel. If that happens, the wheel will have to bear the weight of the entire vehicle and the wheel’s friction and asphalt. Tire pressures are one of the reasons why the steering rack of the drive shaft is damaged.
Every time you want to change the direction of the wheel, slow down to an appropriate turning speed for a turn. Steering when your vehicle is not in motion is called “dry steering,” which maximizes the strain on the steering system, especially for non-power assisted steering, and gradually damages components such as the rack and pinion, tie rods, pump, and bearings. Also, this causes great friction and, consequently, wears down your tires.
Make Plans For Your Motor
In cold weather, your engine has to work harder. Plan your errands together so that the trip is longer. Short trips in cold weather mean your engine has to work a lot to keep the operating temperatures in balance. In the long run, this hurts your car.
Following the nine daily driving tips to help your vehicle last longer above, you can extend the life of your car easily. Besides improving driving habits, keep a vehicle maintenance schedule, such as washing the car, reapplying the finish, changing the oil, etc. If you take good care of your vehicle, you can protect its look and extend the life of the components. Here is the Auto Guys Land Checklist to help you do just that.
Mike Cross is the founder of AutoGuysLand. He’s a Tech guy who has a passion for car repair, car audio, and car camping.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.