DRIVING TIPS TO PROLONG YOUR CAR'S LIFE
Before you get behind the wheel, there are several precautions you can take to prolong the life of your car: change your oil every 5 – 10,000 miles; rotate your tires every 10,000 miles; replace your air filter every 30 – 45,000 miles; keep your tires properly inflated; get your wheels aligned if the car drifts or pulls to one side or the other; routinely clean out your trunk and back seat because the added weight puts an extra strain on your engine.
Once you are behind the wheel, follow these tips to keep your car running longer:
1. DON’T REV YOUR ENGINE WHILE YOU’RE IDLING
You may rev your engine in the winter when you first start your car to warm the car up quickly so you can turn on the heater. But getting your cold engine parts spinning at high speeds adds unnecessary strain and wear to the various components.
2. DON’T SPEED OR REV YOUR ENGINE ON THE ROAD
Driving too fast wastes gas and increases your emissions, but it also taxes your engine parts, forcing pistons and other components to exceed their optimal performance speed. The ideal speed for most vehicles is 50 to 55 miles per hour. If the speed limit is higher than that, keep with the flow of traffic, but if you can do so at a slower speed, that’s preferred.
3. USE CRUISE CONTROL WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Engage your cruise control when you’re on a straightaway on a highway or any road without traffic lights or stop signs. Drive the speed limit and set the cruise control then so you know you won’t be speeding. The main perk to cruise control is fuel economy, as you burn more fuel accelerating than you do maintaining your current speed; it will also lessen the stress on your engine.
4. KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU
Maintaining a safe following distance is critical to safe driving. Drivers should practice the “3 Second Rule.” Choose a fixed point that is even with the car in front of you—for example, a road sign. If you reach that same fixed point before you can count to three, you’re driving too close to the car in front of you. Not only does having an adequate margin of space from the car in front of you provide increased safety, it also decreases the chance that you’ll have to slam on your brakes. Slamming on your brakes grinds your brake pads and shortens their lifespan.
5. USE YOUR AIR CONDITIONING SPARINGLY
Your car’s air conditioner uses power generated by the engine, so blasting it the entire drive is adding a strain to your engine. To keep your car cool, park in a garage or in the shade; a reflective windshield shade is an inexpensive way to combat the sweltering heat of summer while your car is parked outdoors. Roll down your windows to let cooler air in before you go for a drive on a hot day. Only use the AC when necessary, and use a lower setting once the car has cooled off.
Your car is a huge investment, but you don’t have to spend extra money to protect that investment. Just being a conscientious driver can prolong the life of your vehicle.
AAA offers a variety of driver training solutions that promote safe and responsible driving. Click here to see which programs are available in your state.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. AAA does not guarantee any particular outcome.