6 Ways You May Be Inadvertently Damaging Your Car

2010 Chevy Equinox

No one wants to intentionally damage their car but it still happens to the best of us. Usually it’s because of a busy lifestyle and a lack of time to focus on car-related things. Sometimes it’s just because the driver just isn’t aware that they are doing something damaging to their car. With the help of Kims Chevrolet of Laurel, MS, a factory authorized Chevrolet dealer, we put together a list of 6 different ways that drivers may be damaging their car when they drive.

Keep your tires inflated correctly

Few tires on our nation’s cars are inflated properly. According to a 2010 Department of Transportation study, 60% to 70% of the cars on the road have tires that are underinflated by 10% or more. What does that mean? According to the study, those underinflated tires cut your gas mileage by 10% or more. Not only that, you are probably damaging your tires too. When tires are run underinflated, they tend to wear excessively on the edges. If you do this for months on end, you will likely have a set of tires that are so badly worn that they won’t even pass inspection. The solution: Check your tire inflation monthly and add air if necessary.

Brake as easily as possible

If you constantly brake hard, your brakes will wear out faster. In specific, the pads and rotors will wear out sooner than usual. An obvious solution is to try to anticipate stops and slow down gently. Clearly this is not possible in every braking situation, but it is possible in more situations than you might think. Bottom line: Driving “gently” can literally save you money.

Avoid jackrabbit starts

Some people accelerate from stop signs and lights like they competing in a drag race. OK, if you are late to an important engagement, it might be sort of excusable (just don’t break the speed limit!) but why do it when you aren’t in a hurry? Not only does this eat up gas mileage, up to 10% says the American Automobile Association, it also stresses engine and transmission parts which can lead to premature failure.

Use the right coolant

Little known fact: The coolant used in your car does more than just cool your engine, it also performs another critical task – it prevents internal corrosion. That’s why most car manufacturers recommend using a minimum of a 50-50 mix because you need at least 50% antifreeze to benefit from the anti-corrosion additives put in. Ask any mechanic: Cars that run 100% water eventually develop problems like head gaskets failing and radiators leaking before long.

Avoid parking in direct sunlight

Heat and direct sunlight can do a number on both your car’s interior and exterior. Inside the car the effects may include cracked dashes, torn seats and faded upholstery. Outside the car, the sun usually causes any plastic lenses (like over the headlights) to become cloudy and the UV rays in sunlight can damage the clearcoat on your vehicle’s paint. Bottom line: while it isn’t always an option to park in the shade, its really worth the trouble if you can.

Keep your oil changed

You probably know that the oil in your car’s engine lubricates all the internal parts so they can move freely. It’s a very important job, so you want to keep the oil in your engine both filled to the proper mark on your dipstick and changed frequently. In the old days it was said that oil should be changed every 3000 miles. Today that interval is longer but don’t leave it to chance. Look in your owner’s manual and see what the manufacturer suggests.


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