7 things you shouldn’t do to your car
Go full throttle on startup
If you were around in the early 80s to 90s, many automobiles were largely mechanical. Starting up the engines caused the vehicles to spit, stutter and shudder for a few minutes until the vehicle got warm. It was customary to let the engine idle for a while before driving off to enjoy a smooth ride. It generally takes a modern engine about 5 minutes to heat up to steady state operating temperatures. This was not the case with those older vehicles in the past. To hasten this process, we would typically rev the engines and keep the revs elevated for a few seconds. The vehicle would generally run without cutting off in idle after this. Modern cars are able to run without engine cutoff while they warm up. Most even have their systems wired to rev the engine for some minutes until the car gets warm, lubes and oils are broken up and coursing smoothly through the system. Revving engines is no longer necessary to keep an engine running during cold start up. However, some vehicle owners, still send the throttle to the floor as soon as the engine is started. This is very similar to a human being asked to make a 100m sprint as soon as he wakes up without time to stretch and warm up. Do this long enough and you will begin to damage certain components on the engine.
Routinely let the Low Fuel Light come on
Our fuel tanks are not designed to be dismantled and cleaned up routinely. Fuel we put in our cars are expected to be clean, free from water and debris. However, this is not always the case. Also, over time, minute impurities getting into the tank over the years accumulate to significant quantities. Manufacturers know this and build in a filter into the supply system. When you routinely empty your tank you allow the fuel pump to pick up debris. Do this often enough and you may begin to have challenges with the fuel supply system. You can prevent this potential bad actor by keeping sufficient levels of fuel in your tank. It is also a good practice to inculcate in case of emergencies or shortages.
Sponging the car body with dust on it
It is best practice to spray sufficient amounts of water on a vehicle before you begin to wash it down. One of the worst things you could do to your paint job is to get a sponge or rag, get some soap and start washing right away. The tiny dust particles that have not been rinsed off begin to act like course sand paper and scratching off the paint on the vehicle. If you observe a vehicle that has been washed like this repeatedly, you will notice brush marks showing the strokes the washing tool leaves on the vehicle. Ultimately, your paint job will fade and lose its bright glitter.
Missing routine maintenance and ignoring warning lights
Not all sounds and warning lights will shut your vehicle down. However, miss enough maintenance schedules, ignore enough warning sounds and lights, and an overall cascade effect will shut your vehicle down. The best analogy to put this is context is dental care. Simple activities such as regular brushing and flossing prevent major damage such as cavities and tooth decay. Poor dental hygiene is not initially painful or discomforting. However, with enough time it becomes a major concern. Vehicles are not cheap. Every vehicle purchase takes significant amounts from you. Doing simple things and paying attention to the warning signs your cars give you is key to getting more life out of your vehicle.
Using Chemicals to Clean your vehicle’s interior
Solvents and other cleaning agents gradually degrade your vehicle’s leather seat and dashboard material. Our modern vehicles have used more sophisticated interior materials to improve the passenger experience. Dashboard bubbling and cracking are more common occurrences these days. These as well as leather seat cracking and fading reduce the passenger experience, require expensive rework and ultimately, depreciate the value of your vehicle. A simple way to prevent
Ignoring the Under carriage
If you drive in muddy terrain and you intend to use your car for many years, you need to pay extra attention to under carriage corrosion. Vehicle manufacturers make design considerations in this area. To prevent or mitigate rust issues, you should adhere to a robust washing schedule for your vehicle’s under carriage. Many automated car washes cater to this. However, if you majorly hand wash your vehicle you need to pay attention to how the bottom of the car gets washed. Multiple car guides have shown that wetting but not knocking off accumulated mud underneath vehicle can cause corrosion hot spots. Most vehicle manuals also specify this exposure. So get the maximum life from your vehicle by taking care of the under carriage.
Drive hard all the time
If you always floor your throttle, are always in sport mode, and are always braking harshly, you will shorten your vehicle’s life span. Hard driving prioritizes performance over engine and component life. This is not to say that your vehicle cannot handle demanding driving situations, but it comes at a cost. When you drive hard all the time, you put a lot of stress on your engine and drive train. This will increase your fuel consumption, brake wear and required maintenance frequency. If you are prepared for these side effects, please carry on. A fair recommendation will be to drive hard only when required. There is absolute no point revving at higher RPMs in a traffic crawl. Even if you can slide between vehicles, your overall average speed will not change much. Drive responsibly always.