At Sun Auto Service we’re constantly asked by vehicle owners how they can keep their car or truck on the road longer. In addition to the recommendation of scheduled maintenance, we encourage our customers to check their driving habits. We ask our customers are you driving aggressively by slamming on the brakes or punching the gas pedal when the light turns green? Are you ignoring critical on-board communications on your dashboard? By giving your car the T.L.C. it deserves, you’ll be able to extend the life of your vehicle and avoid costly or unexpected repairs. What you don’t know could hurt your car. Here’s a list of things that you may be doing to hurt your car and how it may affect it in the long run.
Not enough tire maintenance: Maintaining your tires is the best way to protect your vehicle from the experience of a tire blowout on the road. Proper tire pressures, even wear, tread depth, and rotations every 5,000 miles are the key to keeping your tires in top shape. Properly inflated tires not only help to prevent blowouts or flat tires but also contributes to better fuel efficiency, produces a more comfortable ride, and keeps vehicle suspension in check.
Slamming on the brakes: Panic stops happen on occasion and at times may be necessary, but constantly slamming on the brakes wreaks havoc on the brake system. In addition to causing the brake pads to wear faster than usual, the increase in heat, due to friction between the pads and rotors, causes additional damage to the rotor. Antilock Brake Systems (ABS) are designed to assist in the event that you need to brake hard. However, constantly “riding the brakes” or frequently using them hard will require replacement more often, affecting your wallet.
Ignoring the Check Engine light: Your on-board or dashboard lights are your vehicle’s only way of communicating when something is wrong. When the check engine light comes on, the vehicle is telling you it needs attention. Ignoring the light could create more damage, making things worse than if it had been addressed initially. Although a check engine light could indicate major engine issues, it could also be something as simple as a loose gas cap. Note: If the check engine light is flashing, this indicates a very serious complication. Pull over immediately and contact a trusted technician. Avoid driving the vehicle. Failure to do so could result in further damage to the vehicle.
Using water as coolant: Coolant is essential to the vehicle’s engine and helps prevent overheating, lubricates essential components, and prevents the system from freezing in colder climates. As it flows through the engine, coolant pulls heat as well as traps contaminants such as dirt, sludge, and rust. Coolant contains a mixture of additives and water. The water is essential to its make-up; without it, coolant freezes at a lower temperature and the additives for lubrication, corrosion prevention, and heat transfer aren’t as effective.
Avoiding preventative maintenance: While you may save money by not investing in scheduled maintenance in the short run, you will pay in the long run for major repairs. Drivers encounter all kinds of road conditions when driving and after time, dirt, dust, and other impurities begin to wear down your vehicle. Preventive maintenance, in addition to oil changes, should include incremental fluid replacements, replacement of belts and hoses, and battery maintenance. By performing regular maintenance, you extend the life of your vehicle, reduce the risk of major repairs, and add value to the vehicle for resale. Check your vehicle owner’s manual or talk to a trusted service consultant for a schedule of maintenance services for your vehicle.
Driving with the fuel light on: Avoid driving around on ‘E’ or with the fuel light on. Vehicles today are equipped with a fuel pump located in the gas tank. Fuel operates as a coolant and provides lubrication for the pump. Not keeping the fuel pump cool and lubricated will necessitate a replacement. To protect your fuel system, fill up each time your fuel gauge indicates a quarter of a tank.
Car ownership elicits much freedom and convenience but comes at a cost. Being aware of how you care for your car and how you drive, is important to your car’s well-being. Give your car the T.L.C. it needs by being aware of your driving behaviors and adjusting accordingly. Just by knowing what habits to avoid, you’ll save money by avoiding unnecessary repairs and enjoy the benefits of increased fuel economy.
When you have Sun Auto Service on your side, car care is easy! Our friendly service consultants can advise you on how to care for your car properly with scheduled maintenance. When it’s time for service, schedule an appointment at any of our convenient locations. Our ASE Certified Technicians will perform your service and have you back on the road in the same day (in most cases). With our A+ BBB rating and over 40 years in business, you’ll be more than impressed with our customer service, competitive pricing, repairs guaranteed in writing, and so much more. Come see why Sun Auto Service is the alternative to the dealership!