You can be the most careful driver and still end up damaging your vehicle. The worst part? You’re probably not aware of it.
If you want to take better care of your car, you need to know the many ways you are hurting it – and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Carrying too much weight
Vehicles have a maximum passenger limit and weight capacity, depending on their size and make. The larger a car is, the higher its capacity. When you drive around with heavy loads or too many passengers, the excess weight will bear down on its parts and cause them to wear and tear.
How to prevent it: As a general rule, your car can only carry as many passengers as there are seatbelts. You can refer to the car manual to find out about weight limitations.
2. Running on low fuel
Car fuel usually contains debris which settles at the bottom of the fuel tank. If you have the bad habit of driving on low fuel, these sediments are frequently pumped out into the fuel system, thus damaging them. During winter, low fuel levels are more likely to freeze from the cold and ruin your tank.
How to prevent it: Avoid running on low fuel whenever you can. Always keep the tank half full, especially in cold weather.
3. Riding the brakes downhill
Driving downhill can be particularly scary when the road is steep. In fact, some drivers are too scared that they keep their feet firmly on the brake pad. They hit on the brakes every chance they get so the car doesn’t pick up on speed. While it prevents a vehicle from accelerating too much, what this does is create unnecessary friction between the brake pads and the rotors. The heat generated by the friction ruins these parts and causes brakes to fail just when you need them most.
How to prevent it: Only use the brakes if you want to put your vehicle to a complete halt, such as parking and avoiding a collision.
4. Failure to use the parking brake
A parking brake is a safety feature used to park a vehicle. It is most useful when the parking spot is inclined or if you need to park temporarily. If you don’t use the parking brake in these circumstances and instead rely on ordinary brakes, you’ll be placing the entire weight of your car on the transmission and wear it out.
How to prevent it: Use the parking brake as necessary, like parking on a hill or temporarily on the side of the road.
5. Ignoring early danger signs
Some drivers are guilty of ignoring unusual signs, no matter how noticeable they are. Odd noises and smells, leaking, and even warning lights on the dashboard are often shrugged off as nothing. However, these tend to be early signs of possible damage to the vehicle.
How to prevent it: Be mindful of your car. Take it to an auto repair shop the moment you notice these signs so you’ll know what needs to be maintained, repaired, or replaced before they get worse.