9 Driving Habits That Will Extend Your Car’s Life

November 4, 2020

Have you wondered why some cars purchased over a decade ago are still in stable condition while others bought at the same period look worn out?

Two cars of similar models bought on the same day and having covered equal mileage might look different after a decade or so.

Well, it all depends on driving habits. This shouldn’t be confused with obeying the usual driving rules, although it is important to always be on the side of the law.

By good driving habits, we mean how you treat your car while driving, not how you keep yourself safe from harm or criminal offense.

Let’s face it: cars are expensive, so to get the full value of your money, you need to drive your car well so that you strike the 200,000 miles with your car still in good condition. If your car lives that long, you have saved money.

The lifespan of your car depends entirely on how you drive it. The following are the most vital driving habits that you should keep in mind to extend your car’s life:

1. Keep the Gas Tank High

Whenever possible, you should ensure your gas tank is full to the brim because driving on low gas or oil hurt your car in the long run. When your gas is low, the car is forced to suck gas from the tank bottom.

The bottom of the tank has a layer or two of debris that ends up clogging your car fuel filter. The debris can also get into the engine, causing war and tear. This is especially the case if you do not change the oil regularly, according to the manual.

There are better tricks if you want to save gas.

2. Do Not Over-Speed

Firstly, fast speed may cause harm to both you and the car if things get out of control, so your safety should be enough incentive to keep you driving at a safe speed. Another motivation for driving not too fast is that it may place you on the wrong side of the law.

But there is another reason you should not always speed: to keep your car healthy in the long run. Each car comes with the recommended driving speed, which is typically around 55 – 65 MPH.

With that, your car doesn’t have to strain to meet the ideal speed. However, when you overstretch things, the engine has to work harder to keep up with your rapid acceleration. Other car parts, such as the pistons, also have to work faster because the fuel demand shoots up when you speed past the reasonable limit. All these lead to fast wear and tear if you always speed.

3. Don’t Start and Stop Abruptly

Sometimes you cannot help starting or stopping your car abruptly. It might be the only way to save your or someone’s life. However, make it a habit to accelerate gradually when you start your car.

Both abrupt starting or stopping your car wear out the engine, brake pads, and rotors too fast. Give the car time to warm up because the mechanical elements tend to get stressed when cold yet expected to rise to the occasion at once.

Again, you spend more fuel when you start or stop abruptly than when you do either gradually.

4. Avoid Overloading

One other reason why people buy cars is to help them transport loads, but you should ensure you do not pile excess weight in or on your car because overloading damages the shock absorbers and suspension by forcing them to strain to bear the weight.

Think of your car as a human being. Overloading also causes strain on the brakes and wheels. All these eventually shorten your car’s life.

5. Drive Regularly

It is easy to assume that the less you drive your car, the longer it would last because you save it from wear and tear. However, the opposite is true; the less you drive, the more you spend on maintenance. Oil circulation keeps a car healthy, so a car that is idle for more than a week has started to die. The battery life is also shortened.

Of course, this is not to say you should always be on the road.

6. Do Not Park under The Sun

Overexposure to the sun causes the car surfaces to peel or lose luster fast. The interior paint can also fade as the interior upholstery starts to bleach. Hence, always try to park in the shade or covered parking.

7. Give Potholes a Wide Berth When Possible

It is not always possible to avoid driving through potholes, especially when the traffic is heavy. It is pointless avoiding a pothole only to end up causing an accident in the process. That’s why the emphasis is on ‘when possible.’

So do not drive through potholes if you can help because they damage car wheels, tires, and other parts that have to absorb the abrupt impact. You either slow down through potholes or avoid them. In the same breath, slow down when crossing over bumps or train tracks for the same reasons.

8. Avoid Riding the Clutch

It makes sense to keep your one foot on the clutch pedal as you wait for the traffic green light so that you drop the clutch the moment the light changes. However, unnecessarily keeping your foot on the clutch damages the release bearing and pressure plate.

The clutch surfaces also rub against each other, causing wear and tear, which might later result in clutch failure one day when you need it most. It would help if you made it a habit to press the clutch and engage the gear after the light turns green.

9. Timely Car Repairs

Do not overlook even what you consider minor scratches or damages; a stitch in time saves nine. It would be best if you got these issues fixed as soon as possible. Each car make or model comes with a maintenance manual. Make good use of it by routinely servicing your car when and how prescribed by the carmaker.

The faulty components should also be replaced. Clean your car as your house; it feels good to drive a fresh-smelling car.

Do routine air filters and oil changes. While at it, do not forget waxing, painting, and vacuuming. Through a thorough cleaning, you may identify some hidden damages in your car and arrest the situation in time.

Wrap Up

May these simple tricks keep your car on the road in good condition for many years to come. To learn better ways of driving for your own safety and that of your car, enroll for our driving lessons today.