10 Ways to keep your car in good shape and save some money maintenance-wise
Driving a few miles on a bad road is no doubt frustrating. However,having to cover hundreds of miles on poorly maintained roads can be a really terrible experience.
In some developing countries, bad roads aren’t so rare to come by. There are places where roads are so bad that for every few hundred miles, you will need to replace your shock absorbers, connecting rods and other vital hinge parts of your car. However, there are a few tricks that will save you a large chunk of maintenance cost and help your vehicle last longer.
Here are some of the ways to keep your car in good shape and save some money on maintenance.
1. Avoid short trips
There is nothing more damageable for an engine but to be run for only very short trips while being half cold. Plan all your errands in one round. By so doing, you reduce the time the engine is running cold and have more chances of having it stay to operating temperatures.
2. Slow down before driving through potholes
While some people feel uneasy steering their cars around a pothole, others think it is a waste of time slowly driving through a washed portion of a road.
There is absolutely no need to be in such a rush. Driving through deep depressions at high speed can not only damage the tire and the wheel, but the impact can also have adverse effects on the suspension and steering components.
The whole car will benefit from avoiding or slowing down for potholes, as these repetitive impacts tend to loosen various items in the car, creating rattles and squeaks.
3. Steer only when the car is rolling
Even when attempting a parallel parking maneuver, get the car rolling a bit before steering the wheel. This will greatly reduce the effort being exerted on the steering rack and its components.
Turning the wheels while the car is stationary puts tremendous stress on the entire steering system. The tire and asphalt friction requires a lot more effort to shift if the whole weight of the vehicle is resting on them.
4. Always look down the road
It is necessary to not just look straight at where you are going but to look down the road to spot what is on the road itself.
There are always weird looking items, like nails and sharp objects you will want to avoid. Looking down on the road will also allow you to spot bumps or depressions in the road, so that you can at least slow down to keep the impact minimal when you ride through.
5. Slow down before driving through train tracks
Chances a high you will encounter dips and uneven pavements at a railroad track. Slow down when coming up to a railroad crossing, a small bridge or country road. These are always uneven with the pavement and create impacts for the wheels, tires and overall car that can be damaging over time.
6. Keep a safe distance when following up trucks
Getting stuck behind a truck is unavoidable. But always ensure you keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the truck. Apart from the fact that these trucks may carry some potentially harzadous luggage, keeping a safe distance will save your car from flying rocks and other debris which, over time, damage the paint, headlights and windshield of your car. Also, when following a badly maintained older truck, keeping a safe distance means less black fumes get into the filter of your ventilation system.
7. Don’t push the throttle too hard
Take it easy with your car, especially for the first few miles. Your car engine is designed to run and move swiftly, but only at optimal operating temperatures. There is no need to idle the car for long, but at the start of your trip, take it easy for the first few kilometres so as to allow the engine go up to its normal operating temperature.
This will save you wear and tear as well as save some fuel; many engines are not as fuel efficient when half-cold.
8. Drive smoothly
Accelerate smoothly, steer smoothly, brake smooth and even. Don’t make panic stops all the time for no just reason. Your vehicle wasn’t built to withstand such constant stress. Ensure you drive smoothly not only for the stability of the car while moving, but also for the durability of the vehicle’s components.
By going smoothly the various mechanical parts of the car will not take a hit but actually be able to work as intended, and thus last longer. Plus your passengers will enjoy the ride rather than being tossed around.
9. Floor it sometimes
This may sound contrary to (7) but, your engine does need to be wound up and pushed at times. However, wait until it is at proper operating temperatures and do that only once in a while, when merging onto highways for example, step on the gas for a swift acceleration. Getting the engine up in revolution will allow it to work hard and burn some of the carbon deposit that tends to accumulate around the valve train. Doing this occasionally will help prevent having an engine head all gummed up or covered with carbon deposits.
10. Don’t engage the reverse gear when the car is yet to get to a full stop
How often do you, in a rush, throw the gear change lever into reverse (R) while the car is still in movement? That is the best recipe for an early transmission failure. Take the time to reach a full stop before shifting; this applies to any shifting action. Shifting before this full stop means the transmission needs to take the brunt of the momentum while shifting, which causes undue damage over time.
Make sure to also do so when shifting into park (P). Shifting in park on an automatic transmission means your are engaging a very small lever to lock a gear; that lever is not designed to stop the car and having to do so too often will result in premature failure.