Tuesday, 10 May 2016

How you unwittingly destroy your car

Like everything else on earth, including plants, marriages and smartphones, your car disintegrates with every passing moment and there isn't much you can do to prevent it.

Unfortunately, we also unconsciously assist in accelerating the wear and tear of our pride and joys. This is how we do it:

1. The first and most important aspect is known as mechanical sympathy, and if you don’t have even a pinch of it, your car is one of the walking dead. It’s quite vast, and applicable even to the insignificance of closing your vehicle’s doors. Total care for your car, including the choice to drive slowly on bad surfaces counts. Lack any mechanical sympathy and prepare to pay or drive a wreck.

2. Service your car at manufacturer-recommended intervals. At times financial constraints force us to skimp on certain replacements allocated to a specific service regime, and complying with only a few items jeopardises more crucial equipment. For instance, if you choose to forego replacing brake pads, you risk expensive damage to the disc brakes. Make wise choices.
How you unwittingly destroy your car
3. Refuel with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommended octane. It’s quite normal these days to hear someone who drives a car that requires 93 RON (Research Octane Number) nonchalantly asking for 95 RON instead. Yes, it’s a clever life hack to extend fuel supply, but have you considered what the higher octane fuel does to the internals of your engine? Comply with manufacturer-recommended fuel grades to avoid the pain of replacing high-cost mechanical items.

4. Keep more than the recommended two- to three-car length distance from the car in front yours and practise earlier braking. Shorter braking distances mean heavier pressure applied on your brake pads, and you will wear them out quickly. Timely, smoother braking practices extend pad life.

5. Close tailing of a slower car in front you in annoyance can result in a number of scenarios. You risk rear-ending the car, and if you are fortunate enough to not experience this, by the time the slower driver has moved over, he has left your car with minute chips on your paint work that will accelerate the rapid ageing of your car. Hard to imagine, but exercising patience on the road not only saves you from an accident or road rage, it also adds years to your car’s lifecycle.

6. When stationary on a steep angle, pull up your hand-brake rather than ride your pedal brake. You are overworking your primary braking system by not utilising the hand-brake enough, ironically the very item designed for this purpose.

7. On some of the newer high-performance cars there is a feature known as Launch Control. It primes the car for full bore off-the-line acceleration. While this is a nifty and exciting element of a racy car, the truth is that it destroys internal mechanicals, and to add authority to this statement, OEMs also indicate that this function shouldn’t be accessed regularly. So minimal to no launches please!

8. Use of front-mounted fog lamps for added night time driving light is as futile as using the bright rear fog lamps on clear nights. Their primary uses are for driving through thick fog where forward visibility is down to about two metres or less. The font pair assists in illuminating lane markings for easier and safer navigation, while the rear lights are designed to pierce the fog to lessen the chances of being rear-ended in low-visibility conditions. Use these lights unnecessarily and suffer the consequences of having them fail when you need them most, and they are the most expensive bulbs to replace.

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