11.22.16 - Overloaded Truck

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you are the reason your car won’t last as long as it should. You have some seriously bad habits that are making it more difficult for your vehicle to last as long as you want it to and when it finally does break down you’re going to wonder what happened. Even though you are guilty of some of these bad habits, so am I and so are millions of other drivers. The good news is, you can change your habits and start to help your car last much longer. Check out these bad habits and see which ones you need to change starting today.

Parking Brake – You only need this on an incline right? Wrong, your parking brake is meant to help take the load of holding your vehicle in place when parked. You should engage this brake every time you park because you’re putting the weight of your car on the parking pawl in the transmission which is a small item that can wear out.

Low Fuel – Operating your vehicle at lower than a quarter tank of fuel most of the time can damage the fuel pump. The fuel pump resides in your tank and needs to be submerged in fuel in order to remain cool and work properly. replacing this item is costly and something you don’t want to do. Try staying above a quarter tank of fuel as often as possible.

Quick Directional Change – If you have a habit of shifting from reverse to any of the forward drive gears quickly, especially when pulling out of parking space you need to stop. Make sure you come to a complete stop before shifting your transmission so that it will last much longer and perform better for you over time.

Early Revving – Whenever possible you should let your car sit for a minute to allow the oil to be distributed throughout the engine and the fluids to warm up. If you turn the key and take off in your car, especially at high revs, you’re in for a shorter lifespan on your engine and will cause unnecessary damage to your vehicle.

Overenthusiastic Acceleration – One of the best ways to keep your car from becoming damaged too early, especially the working components of your drivetrain, is to drive conservatively. Don’t accelerate hard when you don’t need to. This goes for stopping as well, give yourself plenty of room ahead of you so that you can stop at a smooth and comfortable rate.

Hand on the Shifter – Especially in city traffic this seems natural and comfortable, but leaving your hand on the shifter in your manual transmission vehicle will put wear on the bushings and synchronizers of the transmission. This can cause premature wear which will result in a large repair bill much too early.

Abusing the Clutch – Many of us were taught to do this at a stop but we shouldn’t. When you come to a light and have to wait, put the car in neutral and release the clutch. This will help keep your clutch, release bearings, release arm and pressure plate in good condition and make them last longer. Once the light changes you can press the clutch and put the car on gear.

Overloading the Vehicle – We’ve all seen them on the road. Those vehicles that have too much stuff and are weighed down heavily. This puts too much strain on the drivetrain, suspension and brakes and makes it harder for your vehicle to perform. You also lose fuel mileage when you have a heavy load, so ditch the junk in the trunk.

Riding the Brakes – When going downhill you have to brake at times, but there are better ways that will help reduce the wear on your brakes. You can shift into a lower gear and allow the decompression of the drivetrain to help keep your car speed lower and then if you have to brake you won’t wear them down as quickly.

Neglecting the Warning Signs – If you feel, hear or see anything that seems strange in your vehicle you should have it checked out. Don’t drive around with warning lights on or with sounds that don’t seem natural. Have these items checked out and make sure you understand what’s going on with your vehicle so it doesn’t get worse.

Written by Blaine Traber

I enjoy Design and Architecture. This includes cars, I have always loved the design of a vehicle and it is what led me to work in the Automotive Industry at Honda. I'm also a freelance automotive journalist.

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