How To Kill A Car (Without Meaning To)
Your car’s a big investment and one of the most valuable assets you own. When everything’s working right, though, it’s pretty easy to take a good-running car for granted for months at a time. That can be a big, big mistake! Here are some ways that you might be doing some real damage to your car without meaning to, or even being aware of it:
· Oil changes: When a car doesn’t use oil, it’s easy to just slam the hood and forget about it. Even a car that doesn’t smoke or burn oil can still lose minute amounts through leakage, and a car that’s low on oil will starve its upper-end components for lubrication, causing damage. Neglecting oil changes will result in sludgy deposits building up on internal moving parts, so make sure you change your oil at manufacturers’ recommended intervals.
· Taking short trips: When you only go a couple of miles, your car’s engine never has a chance to warm up to operating temperature. A certain amount of water vapor results from normal combustion, and normally that water vapor trapped in the crankcase will boil off at operating temperature. When it can’t, however, it contaminates the oil and shortens the life of the oil itself.
· Brakes: Too many people put off brake service and drive around with worn-out brake pads. Many brake pads are designed with a spring-steel ear on the backing pad that drags along the rotor when the pads reach a minimum thickness, making a squealing sound. Others don’t, though, and sometimes the squealing or metal-to-metal grinding noise means that the backing plates of the pads are digging into the steel rotor, ruining its surface. Be aware of signs of worn brakes, such as longer stopping distances, pulsation through the brake pedal or strange noises.
· Neglecting your transmission: Heat is the enemy of your automatic transmission, and automatic transmission fluid (ATF) helps cool and lubricate internal parts as well as transmitting torque and power through the unit. Excessive heat buildup will degrade ATF, however, compromising its lubricating properties and causing buildups of varnish-like deposits in the transmission, obstructing internal flow. ATF’s service life is shortened even more when the transmission is subjected to extreme use such as towing or hauling heavy loads.
· Not washing and waxing: Wash and wax does more than just make your car look great. A coat of wax also helps protect your finish from the sun’s UV rays and from harsh road chemicals in the winter months, preserving the paint and heading off rust. Actually, it’s a good idea to park in the shade whenever possible so the sun won’t also destroy your car’s dashboard and upholstery.
At Master Auto Repair, we’ve been helping drivers in the greater St Louis area keep their cars dependable and running great for a long, long time. Make an appointment with us today and let us do a checkup on your car – chances are we can find some things that you’ve missed!
|How To Kill A Car (Without Meaning To) was written by Mike Najjar of Master Auto and Tire|