Automobile manufacturers design their cars to take all sorts of abuse.  After all, an automobile is a means of means transportation and it needs to last a long time.  However, considering how mission-critical a good working car is, there are some things that you might be doing that will shorten your vehicles life.  We are willing to bet that several on the list are new to you, so read on.

  • Put pure water in your radiator

The engine coolant in your car does something besides just cooling your engine, it prevents cooling system corrosion.  The metals in your engine tend to react with each other because they are different elemental types (iron, aluminum, alloys, etc.) and this leads to something called “galvanic corrosion”.  Over time, galvanic corrosion can ruin an engine.  Good antifreeze has special corrosion inhibitors in it to stop galvanic corrosion so use it in your cooling system.  Check your owner’s manual but a 50/50 mix of water and coolant is generally recommended.

  • Don’t give your car enough time to warm up

The oil in your car’s engine is necessary to prevent wear between the moving parts. The problem is that it doesn’t work as well when it’s cold outside and the oil gets sluggish.  Here’s a real simple solution: allow your engine to warm up for a few minutes when you first start it. insists that this can add thousands of miles onto your car’s life.  And it’s pretty easy to do too.

  • Shifting into drive while the car’s still rolling

OK, a lot of us do this.  When you are in a hurry and are backing up, it’s very tempting to slide your gearshift into “Drive” just before the car has come to a complete halt.  While this isn’t a major issue when going very slow, it still stresses transmission parts.  The solution is simple: when backing up, put your foot on the brake and take a second to let allow your car to come to a complete halt.  Then you can shift the car into drive and continue on.  This can add a lot of life to your transmission and postpone expensive repairs.

  • Ignoring your CEL

One of the most common misconceptions about cars is that a Check Engine light (CEL) glowing isn’t serious, and therefore “can be ignored”. Well, the engineers that design your car would probably agree that when the CEL comes on you shouldn’t panic but it is something to look into.  Quite often the CEL being illuminated is a minor issue but it could grow into something more significant later on. The best practice is to bring your car to a competent mechanic, such as at Pearl Automotive, after the CEL comes on and get an official diagnosis.

  • Don’t slow down for potholes

All the components in the front end of your car are precisely aligned to each other.  When this alignment is disrupted, such as when you hit a speedbump or a dive into a nice deep pothole, things can get out-of-alignment.  The result: steering can be affected and this can cause the car to pull to one side or your tires can start wearing unsymmetrically causing the same effect.  Bottom line: avoid these road hazards to the best of your ability and slow down if you are driving on poor road surfaces.

  • Ignore odd tire wear

If your car’s tires are wearing on one side of each tire and not the other, you likely need a wheel alignment.  This is one you don’t want to put off for long because it doesn’t take long for tires to be ruined when the alignment is off.  And, as you likely are aware of, tires are expensive and this one is a no brainer.  If your tires look to have odd wear patterns, stop by your local dealer and have them take a look.  

Source:  Roberts Chrysler Dodge

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