Winter can be tough on our cars, but it’s possible your bad car care habits are making things even worse. Below are some of the ways you may be increasing the wear-and-tear on your vehicle. These bad car care habits may keep you from spending money now, but in the long run they will wind up costing you more, and decreasing what you will get for your car once you decide to sell or trade it in.
Leaving Your Car Idling to Warm it Up before Driving
Having to let your car warm up before driving has for the most part become a thing of the past. Thankfully, today’s engines have enough lubrication that they do not need to be warmed up. Now, if you are anything like me and do not look forward to getting into a freezing cold car first thing in the morning, then it is fine to let it warm up, but only for a couple of minutes. Keep it to the bare minimum. Any longer and you could be causing more harm than good. Car engines are not designed to sit idling for long periods of time. Doing so can allow buildup to develop on your spark plugs, which makes them less efficient therefore causing your car to waste gas.
Not Changing the Oil on a Regular Basis
While most of today’s cars no longer need the oil changed every 3000 miles, it is still important that you change the oil based on your owner manuals recommendation. The oil is basically your car’s life blood. Changing it on a regular basis not only helps keep the internal moving parts of your engine clean and lubricated, it also keeps dirt and debris from building up, gives you better MPG, and can extend your engine’s life. In addition, clean oil means less emissions.
Keeping the Gas Tank Low
Many of us are guilty of this one. I know I am! For one reason or another, you either put off filling up until you are running on fumes, or put just $10 in to get you by. However, what you may not know is that you could be causing unnecessary damage to your car’s fuel system. Many fuel pumps are designed to keep cool by staying submerged in the fuel inside the tank, so if you’re regularly running at a quarter full or less, you could be speeding up the need for a fuel pump replacement. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay for a full tank of gas instead of a brand new fuel pump!
Ignoring the Check Engine Light or Other Signs
If something’s not right with your car, chances are it’ll try to tell you. Especially when the check engine light comes on. There seems to be a common misconception that when this particular light comes on, it’s nothing serious so therefore you can put off having it checked. While it doesn’t always signal impending disaster, it does mean that something is off with your engine. Regardless of whether that something is a loose gas cap or something else minor, left untreated, it could snowball into something much more serious and costly. The same holds true for any other warning lights that come on.
In addition, if you feel any odd vibrations, hear any strange noises such as squeaks, squeals or knocks, it’s most likely your car telling you that something is not right. Take it in for service asap. While you may not think it’s anything important, the longer you wait the more trouble you may be in.
Your car is an investment, and just like any other investment, you want to get your money’s worth. Taking care of your car and avoiding bad car care habits will help your car last longer. And remember, always bring your car in for its regular scheduled maintenance to a professional such as those at Marlow Motors. After all, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care.