Our cars – we love them, for the most part, but they are expensive. For most of us, expensive or not, owning a car is a necessity. What with gas, maintenance, and insurance, however, our automobiles cost us a pretty penny every month. Looking for cheap gasoline, affordable car insurance quotes, and keeping up with the maintenance are all ways to help save money on our cars.
Let’s talk about some bad habits that might be putting your vehicle under unnecessary stress and costing you more money. For example, things like leaving your hand on the gear stick and slamming on the brakes should always be avoided. Here are some more to think about.
- Ignoring Dashboard Warning Lights. It’s easy to ignore weird sounds your car is making by turning up the radio (though you shouldn’t) but it isn’t as easy to ignore the warning lights on the dashboard. Whatever light or multiple lights might be on could indicate anything from low tire pressure to something seriously wrong with your engine. Get them checked out right away.
- Riding the Brakes. Yes, one of the most important safety components on your vehicle is the brakes. But, getting into the habit of riding them down a steep hill or hitting them too quickly can cause them to wear out and even overheat. Get into the better habit of tapping them and giving yourself more time to slow down by putting appropriate space between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
- Not Avoiding Potholes. If you live in a region that has cold winters and hot summers, you’re likely to see an abundance of potholes. Continuously hitting potholes can cause significant damage to your car, including everything from a flat tire to an exhaust system, and steering and suspension system problems.
- Leaving a Chip in the Windshield. Keep in mind that repairing a small chip in the windshield is always going to be less expensive than a full windshield replacement. The tiny crack or chip might not seem serious but changes in the weather and other stresses on the car can easily lead to the chip turning into a sizable – and formidable – crack.
- Ignoring Tire Pressure. Nobody really thinks about tire pressure until they are stranded with a flat tire on the side of the road. But, even if the tire isn’t flat it could be very low on air pressure which can cause poor fuel economy, uneven tire wear, and inconsistent vehicle handling.
- Rushing the Shift. Manual and automatic cars aren’t as different as they may seem. It’s still very important to take that extra half second to come to a complete stop when shifting from reverse to drive. If you shift while the car is still moving, you are inviting problems to your transmission system that could cost thousands of dollars.
- Leaving it Unused for Too Long. While it might be necessary to keep your car off the road for a while, it’s important to note that when a car sits for too long with no general maintenance, you could be looking at rubber belts and tires cracking, critters making their home in the car, rust forming, and the battery going bad.
- Driving with Low Fuel. This holds true for both newer and older cars but for different reasons. In modern cars, the fuel pump is inside the fuel tank. The pump is cooled by the fuel and if there is less than a quarter of a tank of fuel, over time the pump can get damaged. In older cars with steel fuel tanks, driving with low fuel means increasing the opportunity for condensation which will corrode the tank over time.
- Taking Speed Bumps too Quickly. Speed bumps (or humps as they’re sometimes called) are there for a reason, it’s likely a residential or school area and attention is called to slowing down. Unfortunately, a lot of people take them too quickly which causes a host of issues to the suspension system. Ideally, slowing down to 5 mph will spare you harm to your tires, shocks, etc.
- Braking Hard. Continually slamming on the brakes will wear out the pads and rotors and require them to be changed out more often. Plus, stressing them regularly will put you in harm’s way if the time comes when you hit the brakes, and they don’t respond. Ease onto the brakes as often as possible and save the hard braking for emergencies.
- Riding the Clutch. If you don’t own a manual vehicle, this won’t concern you. For those who do, keeping the clutch partially depressed will accelerate the wear and tear on it and you’ll end up having to replace it more often.
- Keeping Your Hand on the Gear Shift. If the gear shift is on the floor between the driver and passenger seat, it’s easy to rest your hand on it while driving. However, by doing this you’re putting additional pressure on the gear selector fork, causing undue wear and tear on it.
- Neglecting Basic Maintenance. Oil changes and belt replacements are just a couple of basic maintenance requirements for every car. Read through your car manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and follow it to maximize your car’s longevity and healthy life – and save you money.
When you are aware of your bad habits, it’s easier to fix them! Take note of the things you do (and don’t do) every day so you can improve your car’s life to keep you happy with money in your pocket.