There’s a lot of common advice about performing routine maintenance and how to fix your car, truck, or SUV.
You’re familiar with the usual ins and outs of car repair: change your filter regularly; if it’s squeaking, it might be the belt; make sure you get an oil change when it’s time; if something like the air conditioner breaks, don’t wait to fix it, etc.
But what about unintentional things you’re doing that might be damaging your car?
Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive, a trusted local automotive service center in Tyler, Texas, has seen it all when it comes to repairing cars and trucks.
Many people don’t realize that they might be making small daily mistakes that compromise their vehicles’ condition and lifespan.
Here are five examples of Common Driving Mistakes That Might be Damaging Your Car:
1. Using the Wrong Fuel
I’m sure many of us have had the experience where we pull up to the pump, begin fueling, and realize too late that we’ve started putting the wrong fuel for our particular car in the gas tank. If you’ve suddenly added Premium fuel to a vehicle that usually takes Regular, the only thing hurting will be your wallet.
However, if you unintentionally add diesel to your engine, it’s going to be a problem. A vehicle that doesn’t run on diesel doesn’t have the proper engine components to make the fuel ignite to run the engine, so it….…just sits there. Which isn’t good for anyone.
Before you begin fueling, make sure you take a couple extra seconds and double-check you’re putting the correct fuel in your tank. That little extra time could save you a lot of time…..and money….. in repairs.
2. Shifting Gears Without Stopping
Many of us have accidentally slid our car, truck, or SUV into a different gear—from reverse to drive— without stopping.
For those who do it as a habit……..it is causing serious, possibly permanent damage to your transmission. When you shift gears without stopping, the sound your vehicle makes is the sign of a very unhappy transmission letting you know that something isn’t right.
A transmission can be very expensive to fix, so save yourself the money and take that extra half-second to stop before you shift. The lifespan of your transmission will be much longer.
3. Not Paying Attention to Lights on Dashboard
How many of us have said, “That light? Oh, I don’t know what it means, but it’s been on for a while.”
For those who don’t read car manuals, the dashboard lights can be a series of mysterious symbols showing that their vehicle is attempting to communicate with them.
However, it’s definitely a good idea to familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s various dashboard light symbols and what problem they could be indicating. Some warnings mean that an immediate fix needs to happen. Otherwise, the car is headed for a breakdown.
A few examples of different dashboard lights are:
· Tire Pressure Light—If this light appears, you should immediately check your tire pressure. Tires without proper pressure can cause a flat or blowout, which could cause an accident, or for you to be stranded. If you’re not able to check and fill your tires yourself, make sure you take your vehicle straight to a local mechanic garage for help.
· Check Engine Light—This light could mean a series of issues, which is why it’s best to have your car looked at right away if this light appears. Putting off anything having to do with your engine could mean expensive repairs down the road.
· Brake Light—Considering that brakes are one of the most important safety features on a vehicle, if your brake light comes on, it’s important to take your car to a garage and have your brakes checked by a mechanic.
4. Not Paying Attention to Noises/Smells/Movements Out of the Ordinary
This is another driving mistake that most of us make at one time or another: ignoring a strange noise/smell/movement our vehicle suddenly starts making, with the hopes that it will just…go away.
Unfortunately, that rarely happens.
If your car suddenly starts making strange noises, it can be any number of things. Trusted local mechanics like Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive have heard their customers—and their cars—make about every sound possible.
The bottom line is, if it’s a sound you don’t recognize, you should get it looked at.
The same goes for odd smells or movements. Both could mean serious engine/structural issues that need attention quickly. Otherwise, your vehicle could suffer serious and costly damage.
5. Hitting Potholes or Speed bumps Hard or Fast
Ok, it might be fun sometimes, but your car certainly doesn’t think so, and your back probably doesn’t either.
There are always those few potholes or speed bumps that sneak up on us, and we can’t help hitting, but if at all possible, it’s best to avoid anything that seriously jars your car, truck, or SUV. There is a whole list of bad things that can happen to your vehicle if you hit a pothole or speed bump too fast: You could cause physical damage to the car, pop a tire or damage the rim, cause engine damage, damage the suspension, etc.
The way people drive cars in movies is definitely not how they should be driven in real life—that is, unless you want the repair costs as well!
Sometimes we get into certain driving habits that we know aren’t great, but we figure, Hey, what can it really hurt?
Unfortunately, it can hurt your vehicle and your wallet.
If you want to avoid expensive repairs and want to keep your vehicle in the best condition as long as possible, not making these common driving mistakes will make a big difference.