Car Care: How to help your car go further
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Age, mileage, and maintenance play a big part in vehicle longevity, but daily driving habits can also have a big influence on slowing the ageing process. Here are six daily driving tips to help you keep your car in tip-top condition -- and save you money.
1. Look down the road
As obvious as it may seem, it's sensible to cast your eyes down the road you're travelling on, rather than just focusing on what's going on in front of your bonnet. Awareness of the route ahead will help to prevent damage to your tyres, wheels and suspension by allowing you to slow down in good time, and manoeuvre around hazards or uneven surfaces and potholes.
Scanning further ahead is even more important when school kids are on holiday -- safety on the streets is paramount.
2. Following distances
The benefits of creating a bit of space between you and the vehicle in front are two-fold. It allows the vehicle to stop in a safe distance in an emergency situation, and also helps avoid picking up damage to your car's lights, paintwork and windscreen caused by stones and road debris being flicked up by the leading vehicle.
Of course, it's also worth noting that it's good practice to maintain appropriate following distance from an economical perspective, too. If there's enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front, you won't need to ride your brakes, so will reduce wear.
3. Tyre pressures
Maintaining the correct vehicle tyre pressure creates a smoother rolling tyre that glides over the road surface, thus maximising fuel economy.
Correctly inflated tyres can also help resist against punctures and wheel damage, as sharp items are more likely to be deflected rather than become embedded into the tyre.
Cars are designed to be at their most efficient when they're running at operating temperature. Although you don't need to sit in the driveway until the temperature gauge moves or the temperature light goes out, it is good practice to drive a little bit easier until it does. When the engine is cold, there is greater risk of wear and tear and fuel usage generally increases. If you use your vehicle a lot for short trips or local driving, it's a good idea to take it out on a longer journey or stretch its legs on a motorway every now and then - especially if you are planning on using it to get you to an upcoming holiday destination. This will help to get rid of any carbon build up in the engine and exhaust system.
5. Drive smoothly
Everyone loves a smooth driver - one who takes corners safely and eases the brake early on to comfortably reduce speed. Try to select a lower gear when travelling down hills, this will help slow the vehicle and reduce the chances of overheating the brakes while towing. Not only does this improve passenger comfort and promote safe driving, it also reduces tyre and brake component wear, thus saving you money.
6. Transmission saving
Making that hasty parking manoeuvre, or reversing out of a driveway? Make sure your vehicle is at a complete stop before engaging the transmission.
This will help to reduce premature wear and possible early failure of the transmission or driveline.
This also applies when shifting an automatic into "park". The park mechanism relies on a very small lever (parking pawl) to hold the transmission. For this very reason, it is also important to apply the handbrake while in "park".
If most of this sounds like common sense, then you're probably doing the right things already. However, it's surprising how quickly and easily habits form without your even realising that it's having a detrimental impact upon your car -- and potentially also on your wallet.
These reminders may well make up a small portion of car care but by following these simple rules, you'll be helping your vehicle to last longer, and your money to go further.