Bad car habits can put a hole in your pocket if you don’t keep them in check.
As you might imagine, car maintenance is very important because the majority of cars can be relatively fragile if you don’t look after them. Bad car habits tend to be entirely self-inflicted, and therefore can cause vehicle damage that may prove to be expensive. So if you find that your car is beginning to incur problems a touch quicker than you are used to, it maybe it’s due to the way you drive.
Okay… so this post isn’t a dig, or a way to preach about road safety, it’s a legitimate concern, as certain bad car habits can directly cause crashes and accidents. Equally, the following bad car habits are going to put a severe dent in the lifespan of your vehicle.
If you were to go through life without ever doing any exercise, or looking after your body in any fashion whatsoever, it would no doubt lead to shorter lifespan than normal. Right? Well a car is the exactly same. Delaying going for regular service checks ups and maintenance may turn into one of those bad car habits, meaning that your car will never get its proverbial exercise check up. If you want to avoid this dilemma, you should take your car for a regular service for things like oil and filter replacement, transmission fluids, air filters and replacement brake pads.
Head ups! Your vehicle should have come with a maintenance manual. If you can’t find it, you may be able to pick one up online. Following the advice found in your vehicle manual will help you to create a nice maintenance routine to follow.
Shifting When on the Move
Gear shifting when on the move is a foolish tactic, it’s another one of those bad car habits, it’s costly, and will wear out the transmission fairly quickly. Don’t shift from drive to reverse whilst you are moving as it’s like a kick in the face to the transmission. Too many of these jerks and jabs, and you will eventually need to replace the transmission. In many cases, this can almost be as expensive as buying a new car outright!
Computer Game Driving
Do you tend to drive at the maximum speed possible, only to come to grinding halt at every stop you encounter? If so be prepared to put your car in the scrapper early. This type of driving will accelerate the deterioration of the key parts of your vehicle, it’s again another one of those bad driving habits, and eventually it will leave you with a hulking mess of a vehicle. For a good car life span, take it nice and smooth and don’t make computer game driving a bad car habit.
Ignoring Dash Lights
It’s fairly self-explanatory – if you decide to ignore the clear warnings that your vehicle is giving you, then hands down you will eventually regret it! Bad car habits are not paying attention to dashboard warning lights, they are there for a reason. And if you do come across a legitimate problem, please do yourself a favor and hot foot it down to the local garage or your trusty mechanic to have the problem repaired.
Are your tires balding or damaged? Then you need to bite the bullet and get replacements. It might be expensive, but it may cost you more than and “arm and a leg” in the long-term if you decide to just ignore it. Bald tyres are dangerous full stop, and if you live in weather torn areas it’s asking for serious trouble. You’ve been warned, if your tyres are balding pick new ones up as soon as possible or you run the risk of having no car at all!
To health and vehicle happiness,
Your fearless mechanic,
Is Your Car Leaking Oil?
Having a car oil leak is a common problem with vehicles today, and it can be caused by a variety of reasons.
However, its important to deal with a car oil leak when it arises. Without sufficient amounts of oil in a car, you’ll find yourself waiting for an AA pick-up truck pretty soon. The good thing is, it’s easy to spot a leak with your car. Just have a look underneath your car to see if you can spot any oily black spots on the ground. If so, you have a leak.
While many cars with more than 100k+ of miles on the clock will burn through a little more oil and leave a small residue, it’s a source of concern if you find oil underneath your vehicle. So long as you keep your engine levels topped up you’ll be fine, but it’s always good to try and find the root of the problem and get it dealt with quickly.
Where is the Car oil leak?
Typically, the car oil leak can come from a few different places. The first thing that you will want to find out is the speed of the car oil leak, as this gives you an idea of just how bad the actual damage might be things first, start with the engine – it’s usually got something to do with the problem. Give your engine an absolutely spotless cleaning session, and you’ll be able to see the oil coming from the source, if the source is indeed the engine.
If you are finding the car oil leak is coming straight from the engine then it’ll be much easier to deal with.
If it’s travelling through the car and getting to somewhere else before leaking, it will be a lot thicker and gungier which is not nice to deal with at all. Starting with the engine, though, you should be looking for a few specific points at the top of the engine such as the valve cover casket. If your leak is higher up on in the engine, you will likely find the problem here.
Additionally, if your car comes with a PCV valve, you might find the same car oil leak issues here. Start to work your way down the engine slowly, and you should find a spot around about half way down that can be the main source of your typical oil leak – the head gasket.
Sat between the cylinder head and the engine block, the oil travels through passageways that connect each side of the gasket. You’ll usually find a fairly sizeable amount of car oil leak coming from here, so be prepared. Check your cooling system, which should be nearby the gasket, as this will be full of frothy brown liquid if it’s got a leak.
Check out the oil pan gasket as well, which is a common source of stress here. It’s at the very bottom of the engine, and even the smallest of failures can leave quite the mess.
To health and vehicle happiness
Your fearless Mechanic,
All of the following have something in common…
Public transport delays, school shut-downs, and salt?
Yep you got it – winter. And in particular winter weather in the UK.
Winter should be the time for hot chocolate and Christmas festivities – but it is also a period where car part issues a plenty seem to raise their ugly heads.
“Unexpected winter car parts repairs – cost money”
Vehicle and road safety should be foremost irrespective of the season, but there are particular car parts maintenance issues and car maintenance checks that are exclusive to the winter club.
The best preparation for tomorrow is doing our best today
So with winter indeed upon us, and before we are knee deep in snow, I thought what better than to offer a touch of guidance in preparation for the season of goodwill.
Follow me as we have a look under the hood and go through some winter car parts maintenance checks to help you make sure that your vehicle is in ship-shape condition.
Winter Specific Conditions
Okay… so let’s get winter specific. Your car parts needs be at their best to prevent the perils of winter driving. Freezing temperatures, rain, and sleet-salted roads will all beat down and affect your car parts if you don’t give your vehicle a “Rocky Balboa” winter maintenance session.
Check Your Juice
One thing that is essential for winter car protection is antifreeze.
Antifreeze is the juice that goes into your car radiator, which should contain a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. Most garages will check car parts including this 50/50 mix for free (if they’re nice), or you can pick up a tester kit for around £5.00 and do it yourself – it’s pretty easy.
If you’ve been following the blog, hopefully you’ve taken some time to carry out a radiator flush, if not you can check it out here.
The last line of defence
Winter is not the time to get all-cheap and bargain basement about car parts, especially your car tyres.
Simply put, car parts like your car tyres are the bottom-line between you either hitting that ditch or not. As such, it only makes sense to check your tyres and their tread depth before winter.
Now I know that bending down and checking car parts like your tyres may be a pain in the neck, but in all fairness, it doesn’t take long and it’s an easy task that could be literally lifesaving. If you need a touch of help have a look at the post Checking Your Tyres.
The Gov.uk site confirms that legally, your tyre MUST have at least 1.6mm tread depth around the entire circumference of the tyre for it to be safe. To be honest, in my experience, any tread less than 1.9mm is worth considering for replacement.
Another thing to keep in mind is tyre pressure. When it gets cold, unfortunately some car parts, in particular car tyres, can lose pressure, so check yours regularly and keep them sufficiently pumped up.
Have you ever experienced driving in a flash downpour with bad windscreen wipers?
It’s scary, very scary.
It’s not rocket science to understand that car parts like bad windscreen wipers can mean poor visibility when you most need it, which in turn is a major safety hazard.
But what does this have to do with winter weather?
Well in the UK, weather is at its nastiest in winter. You have all types of things falling from the sky for example hailstones, tree leaves and birdy poop and effective removal calls for good car parts like windscreen wipers.
Then there’s the winter snowfall and all that grimy sludge created by road salting. Now if your windscreen wipers are not in tiptop condition, clearing this stuff off your windscreen will be like the war on terror – the last thing you’ll want to encounter.
It’s so cold you can see your breath, and you’re sitting in your car trying to start it up but for some reason it’s just not turning over. Been there before?
If you have, then you know what a bummer it can be.
To prevent this from happening, regularly treating car parts like your car battery to a good clean and once over can keep the “kryptonite” at bay.
Now cleaning your battery posts is not essentially specific to winter driving, but just before winter kicks in is a perfect time to check these car parts out to help prevent any possible issues.
If you need help with any of these winter car part maintenance issues, or you haven’t the time to sort them out for yourself, feel free to get in touch, we’d be happy to help.
To health and vehicle happiness,
Your fearless mechanic,