Most of us strive to take the best care of our vehicles as possible, spending the time to wash our vehicles regularly and give our paint a protective wax every month or so. Unfortunately, there are several daily driving habits that most people don’t know about that can damage our vehicles.

Next time you go for a drive, watch out for these common mistakes to keep your car performing optimally.

Not Using the Parking Brake

Regardless of whether you drive an automatic or a manual, it is best to use your parking brake when you park your vehicle, especially on a hill. Not using the parking brake puts more stress on your vehicle’s transmission, because you’re putting the weight of holding the car in place onto a small piece in the transmission.

Unnecessary Weight

The more weight you add to your vehicle, the more work your vehicle has to do to accelerate, turn, and stop. Removing unnecessary weight from your vehicle will reduce the load on all aspects of your drivetrain and suspension, as well as save you money on gas. Keep your vehicle as light as possible to spread apart visits to the mechanic.

Riding the Brakes

Many people claim to feel safer by keeping their foot on the brake while going down a long hill (like those found on the Coquihalla or Malahat). However, doing so may actually put you into more danger. Constant slight braking doesn’t do much to slow down your vehicle, but it does create friction which builds heat and wears out the parts, potentially causing brake failure when you need them.

Running on Empty

It’s healthiest for your engine to keep your tank at least half full – especially when the weather is colder. When your fuel tank is low, you are pumping more debris and sediment through your engine, which leaves deposits and wears the system out.

Accelerating and Braking Aggressively

Of course, sometimes safety requires you to stomp on the gas or brakes. But when done as a matter of habit rather than out of necessity, you’ll wear out parts and require repairs sooner. Another consequence of aggressive driving is a higher fuel bill – so this tip saves you money in 2 ways.

Ignoring Vehicle Warnings

Any odd noises such as rattles, clunks, squeaks, funny smells, warning lights, or anything unusual at all, you should have it checked out. Any of these are signs of issues that can start out small but will snowball if left unattended. The longer you wait, the more damage will be caused and the more expensive the repair will be.

Any questions about these tips? Or maybe your vehicle is exhibiting some kind of warning, like the ones listed above? Just give us a shout, we are always happy to help.

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