1) You’re Not Giving Your Car Enough Time to Warm Up
The oil in your car’s engine is necessary to prevent wear between moving parts. The problem is that it doesn’t work as well when it’s cold. The solution is simple: allow your engine to warm up for a few minutes when it’s cool outside and don’t punch the accelerator pedal for 60 seconds or so. Automotive engineers insist that this can add thousands of miles onto your car.
2) You’re Shifting into Drive While The Car’s still Rollbackwardards
Few of us are without guilt on this one. When you are in a hurry and backing out of a parking spot, it’s very tempting to slide your gearshift into drive just before the car has come to a complete halt. While this isn’t a major issue when going very slow, it still stresses transmission parts.
The solution is simple: when backing out of a parking spot, put your foot on the brake and allow your car to come to a complete halt. Then shift the car into drive and head out.
3) You’re Filling Your Radiator with Nothing but Water
The coolant that you put in your car does something besides just cooling your engine; it prevents corrosion. The metals in your engine tend to react with each other because they are different elemental types (iron, steel, aluminum, etc.) and this leads to something called “galvanic corrosion“.
Galvanic corrosion can ruin an engine as the years go on. Good antifreeze has special corrosion inhibitors in it to stop galvanic corrosion so use it in your cooling system.
4) You’re Ignoring Your Engine’s oil
The days of changing your oil every 3000 miles are gone for most manufacturers but don’t forget that your oil needs to be changed at some point! Keep your oil topped off on the dipstick and change it according to your owner’s manual recommendations. Make sure the oil filter gets changed when the oil does too. It’s cheap insurance for your engine.
5) You’re Not Slowing Down for Speed Bumps or Potholes.
All the components in the front end of your car are precisely aligned with each other. When this alignment is disrupted, such as by a high-speed drive over a speedbump or a dive into a nice deep pothole, bad things can happen.
The steering can be affected and cause the car to pull to one side or your tires can start wearing unsymmetrically causing the same effect. Bottom line: avoid these road hazards to the best of your ability.
6) You’re Ignoring Your Check Engine Light
One of the most common misconceptions about cars is that a Check Engine light (CEL) isn’t serious, and therefore can be ignored. Well, the manufacturer of your car would probably agree that when the CEL comes on you shouldn’t panic but it is something to investigate. The best practice is to bring your car to a competent mechanic after your CEL comes on and get an official diagnosis.
7) You’re Ignoring Unsymmetrical Tire Wear
If your car’s tires are wearing on one side and not the other, you likely need a wheel alignment. This is one you don’t want to put off for long because it doesn’t take long for a tire to be ruined when the alignment is off.