Resources from AAA
Jackrabbit starts stress the engine, transmission, and differential. Riding the brake pedal, or consistently stopping at the last instant, damages the brakes. Shifting from “Reverse” to a forward gear while the car is still moving backward can harm the transmission. And hitting potholes causes suspension and tire damage and ruins wheel alignment.
Use it or lose it.
Every so often, switch on the air conditioner in the winter and the heater in the summer for a few minutes. This keeps seals lubricated and other moving parts functioning smoothly. Engage your SUV’s four-wheel drive occasionally if you rarely use anything but two-wheel drive.
Go gently into that good night—or morning.
Engine wear is great just after starting, before the oil pump circulates oil through the engine. But you don’t need to waste time and gasoline by idling in the driveway. Just go easy on the throttle for a few minutes until the engine is warm.
Synthetic oils are superior lubricants. They’re more costly than petroleum-based oils, but they can extend engine life. Synthetic oils reduce wear over the long haul, but they can’t undo wear. So it’s best to start using synthetic oil when the engine is still young.
Scan the instrument panel at regular intervals so that you catch an illuminated warning lights or a gauge with an unusual reading. Your owner’s manual explains what the lights and gauges mean. An illuminated check-engine light might not require immediate action, but an illuminated oil-pressure light definitely does.
Heed warnings, part two.
Glance under your car from time to time. Fluids should remain inside the car, not on the ground beneath it. Note the color of any drips and report them to your mechanic. And report any weird squeaks and clunks in a timely manner, too.
Bond with your mechanic.
A skilled mechanic can extend your car’s life span. The AAA-Approved Auto Repair program can help you find a trustworthy one.