Everybody knows that keeping a car on the road requires regular services and routine maintenance of parts like filters, tyres and timing belts. However, keeping your car on the road isn’t all down to your local mechanic. How you drive and handle a car has a huge impact on how long it will remain in service.
Here are some tips that can help your car last the distance.
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Let it idle for a minute
Every night when you park your car, the oil in your car cools and then sinks to the bottom of the engine. When you start it up again oil is immediately pumped into the engine. However, it does take some time for engine parts to become fully lubricated. During this period, which is less than a minute, pushing your car into action can result in increased friction between engine parts, which will reduce their longevity. Let your car idle for a minute or two before driving, this will give your engine enough time to lubricate properly.
Keep it light
A car is like any beast of burden. The more weight it carries, the harder it has to work.
Harder work means more pressure put on its moving parts, which in turns means reduced lifespans for those parts. Simply put, this means you shouldn’t get into the habit of leaving stuff in your car. All that unnecessary weight adds up over a period of years and will result in more stress to your engine, braking system and suspension.
Don’t run on empty
One part of your car you don’t want to keep light is your fuel tank. When you’re short on cash it’s easy to get into the habit of re-fuelling your car often with small amounts of fuel. If you do this continually a large portion of your fuel tank will be exposed to dirt, moisture and rust. Filling your car up will ensure your fuel system remains as clean as possible, and reduce the risk of impurities being fed into your engine via your fuel system.
Park your car under cover
If you’re parking your car outside for over an hour, park it under cover. The sun’s UV rays will damage both the interior and exterior finishes in your car, causing fading and cracking over time. Cars left in direct sunlight will also heat up rapidly, with the interior temperature quickly exceeding the ambient temperature by 20° C. This can cause damage to numerous car systems, including airbags. Last but not least, cover protects you from hail – one of the biggest contributors to car damage in Australia.
Harsh braking, G-force generating acceleration and throwing your car into corners all put immense pressure on various systems in your car, from your tyres and brakes to your suspension system and engine. Good driving is characterized by a smooth, gliding style that demonstrates a good feel for your car’s capabilities.
Work your engine
Keeping your engine in good condition doesn’t have to be boring. Taking your car’s engine through its full rev range occasionally (like once every 200 km) is actually good for your engine. Taking your engine over 3000 RPM will help clean out carbon deposits that can affect your car’s performance and can be hard and expensive to remove if they’re allowed to build up. Just ensure your car is properly warmed up before pushing your engine, and that you’re on an open stretch of road and within the speed limit.
Avoid stop-start traffic
You may not need much encouragement to stay out of traffic, but at this point you’re probably realizing your car doesn’t like extremes. Having to stop and then accelerate your car repeatedly over a short period of time causes stress to both your braking and clutch system. Checking routes for traffic on your phone’s map app before you set off on a trip is the easiest way to avoid this scenario.
Keep it clean
Keeping your car clean isn’t just about preventing local kids from finger sketching on your rear window. Your car is constantly exposed to a variety of airborne contaminants ranging from salt to acidic rainfall and guano. These can have a corrosive effect on your car’s body, and if left unattended can expose your car’s chassis to the effects of oxidation – which means rust. The rule of thumb is to wash your car at least once every two weeks. And if your car spends a lot of time in close proximity to the coast, it’s advisable to wash it weekly.
Earn rewards whilst you drive
UbiCar is a free smartphone app that lets you track and score your driving. Aside from providing you with feedback that allows you to become a safer driver the app also rewards your safe driving with fairer priced insurance and with UbiCoins which can be redeemed in an online store.