How Driving Habits Can Affect a Car’s Longevity: What You Need to Know for an Auto Career
If you’re pursuing a career as an automotive service technician, you might have clients looking to you for advice about how to keep their vehicles in great shape. While performing routine maintenance is probably the best way to increase the longevity of a vehicle, there are things that drivers themselves can do while they are on the road.
Many driving habits have a significant impact on a car’s performance and longevity. Below we will take a look at a few driving habits that can significantly affect the longevity of a car so that you can provide clients with valuable tips to keep their vehicles running longer.
Warming Up the Engine Is a Good Idea, But Idling Isn’t the Way to Do It
Warming up a car on cold winter days by letting it idle for 5-10 minutes is one of the most common car maintenance tips you are likely to hear. The problem, however, is that in today’s cars it’s usually unnecessary and oftentimes illegal. While it is true that cars should be warmed up a bit on cold days in order to get the engine oil flowing, idling a car for more than 30 seconds is unnecessary except in cars that are decades old. Furthermore, idling is bad for the environment, wastes money on fuel, and can result in fines.
In fact, the most effective way of warming up an engine is to drive it. Gently driving the vehicle by keeping the speed under 60 km/h during the first 10 minutes is ideal, as this will allow the engine to warm up without pushing it too hard.
Keeping Speed Under Control Is Great Advice to Give Clients in Your Auto Career
Just like with excessive idling, driving too fast is an excellent way to get a ticket, harm the environment, and put unnecessary strain on an engine. The higher the speed a car is travelling at, the faster its pistons and other moving parts must work, which can cause them to wear out sooner. As a result, you should encourage clients in your automotive career to take it easy on the gas pedal if they want to enjoy their vehicles for longer.
There is, however, one exception to this rule. Every now and then, it is actually a good idea to accelerate a car rapidly. Occasionally driving at a high rpm (revolutions per minute) helps shake off the carbon deposits that build up on engines over time and which can reduce performance. This gunk can build up around the valve train, so shaking it loose through occasional rapid acceleration is actually a good idea.
Harshly Shifting Gears Puts Unnecessary Strain on Cars
When driving a manual, it might be tempting to shift the gears rather than use the brakes to slow down. However, this stresses the transmission and can wear it down faster.
Worrying about gear changes might seem like just an issue for manual cars, but there are some important points for drivers of automatics to keep in mind too. When backing out of a parking spot or driveway, it’s tempting to switch from reverse to drive without first coming to a complete stop. While this may not seem like a big deal, it does cause a lot of stress on the drivetrain over time. Eventually, it can lead to early transmission failure and a visit to the mechanic.
Shifting into park before coming to a complete stop also causes strain on the “parking pawl,” which is a small lever that keeps the transmission output shaft from turning. It is not designed to stop a vehicle that is still moving and forcing it to do so can lead to it breaking. So, if you want to give your clients during your auto career some advice that can keep their cars running longer, make sure to encourage them to come to a complete stop before shifting into reverse, and to be gentle in general when shifting gears.
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