11 Important And Useful Car Tips

Owning and driving a car comes with lots of responsibilities including maintenance – from oil change to tyre rotation (usually every 4 years for short to average distance drivers, or 6 months for long distance drivers or travelers) and as well, defensive driving!

Important Tips for a longer lasting vehicle

Of course you wouldn’t want to have scratches all over your car accruing from rough driving and hits from other road users.
You want to ensure you drive carefully always, using the three mirrors available in your car – the two side mirrors and the rear mirror inside the cabin, to avoid any learner driver bashing you and also to be in control and see what’s going on at your left and right sides, and at your back too. You obviously get a wide view of your front which is the easiest view for drivers.  
However, owning and driving a car – whether luxurious or supercars especially in an elite society does not guarantee your car would last, or that you would not have scratches, or that you wouldn’t end up bashing it somewhere. It all depends on how you use and maintain it. Thus, the following tips are necessary for a longer lasting vehicle and value for your money – or as some people may imply, your investment!
1. Always check your tyres, engine oil, radiator fluid and brake oil levels before driving:
Most people are of the habit of being in a rush to work, school or some important appointments and forget checking these vital elements of the vehicle. Regardless of how hasty you are, ALWAYS CHECK the above. Some drivers have had situations of engine overheating, knocking on the road, brake failure due to low fluid and lubrication, tyre burst, or at most accidents due to negligence on their part to check their vehicles properly before driving out each day.
2. During winter or rainy season, ensure your wipers and heaters are in good shape:
Having a bad windscreen and back wipers can be disastrous. Heavy rains and dense snow can reduce visibility, hence accidents occur. As well, maintaining a good temperature range for maximum comfort when driving is advisable, thus warranting the use of heaters when you feel too cold to drive.
3. Avoid rapid acceleration on automatic vehicles:
This is a common issue with drivers of automatic cars. Revving or accelerating too quickly can wear out the engine, and waste fuel. The logic is simple – every vehicle comes with a critical component known as the OXYGEN SENSOR. This little device detects when the vehicle is either running on the highway or within the city. It’s a normal occurrence to burn more fuel when driving at high speeds on the highway and less fuel in city driving at low speeds. Thus the oxygen sensor dictates the amount of fuel to be injected into the engine based on speed of the engine. So if you accelerate or rev up too quickly, it senses a rapid movement and rotation of the engine, and therefore allows for more fuel into the engine than normal. Also, revving the engine too high can damage the oxygen sensor and lead to constant fuel wastage. Accelerating gently when driving within streets saves more fuel as the device injects fuel based on the gradual movement of the vehicle. So when driving, step gently on the accelerator and let the car gear up by itself as an automatic car.
4. Avoid resting your hand on the gear selector on manual vehicles:
Placing your hand on the gear selector on your manual car mounts pressure on the gear and the transmission system, and can cause serious damage to the transmission.
5. Stop! Your clutch may get damaged when you constantly rest your foot on it:
When slowing down your manual vehicle on high speed, first use the brake and when you get to a much lower speed, use the clutch before you stop. Constantly resting your foot on the clutch would wear it out quickly and may damage it eventually.
6. Ensure to run your air conditioner at least twice a month:
In temperate regions or in cool weather when the air conditioner is not needed, do ensure to operate the A/C unit at least twice in a month. This is because leaving the unit for too long without operation can allow mould fungus build up in the system, resulting in a foul smell when it is later used.
7. Change the oil at least every 3 months (depending on usage):
Changing your car’s oil regularly can improve fuel economy. Your vehicle picks up dirt and dust as you drive daily especially on dusty roads. Therefore, leaving the oil in your engine for too long can attract dirt into the engine and can damage or degrade the engine overtime.
8. Change your brake pads and brake discs regularly:
It is expedient to always check on these vital parts of your vehicle. This forms part of the maintenance of your vehicle. The brake pads and brake discs slow down or stop your vehicle when you step on the brake pedal. Overtime, they get worn out and their efficiency is reduced. Failure to change them can result in brake failure, accidents and even fatalities. Refer your vehicle to a certified auto mechanic to replace your brake discs and brake pads – usually done every 6 months to one year depending on your usage.
9. Endeavour to drive with your glasses up:
Did you know? Driving with your glasses down increases drag and reduces fuel economy. You can liken this situation with having a camping box or large load on top of your vehicle and driving at high speed. Your car manufacturer places premium on the aerodynamics of your vehicle – the modifications in design of the vehicle to allow for fuel economy and overcome the wind barrier at high speeds. Thus, driving with your glasses down allows air to act against the speed of the car, hence poor fuel economy. So next time, ensure to wind up your glasses.
10. Avoid changing the recommended tyre diameter for your vehicle:
When changing your tyres, use the recommended specification s for your vehicle. Fixing larger tyres can drastically reduce the lifespan of your vehicle, fuel wastage and damage to your transmission and engine. Larger tyres place a heavy task on your transmission and engine. Say for example, you fix an SUV-specific tyre on your small Cross-Over – you only get to reduce the lifespan of your ride.
11. Always use your side mirrors and rear mirror when driving: 

     When driving on the road, ensure to utilize the mirrors for defensive driving and avoiding dents and scratches to your vehicle either from objects or from other drivers. 

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