The current economic climate has been challenging for many of us. People look for good ways to stretch every penny and cut costs, which also extends to the cars we drive. Now more than ever, it makes much more sense to keep a current vehicle running in good condition than to go out and buy a new one. And since a new engine can easily cost several thousand dollars, taking care of it will pay off in the long run.

Think about it, the engine is the heart of the vehicle, and being attentive to its maintenance (changing fluids and filters at the recommended intervals) is sometimes not enough to keep it running smoothly. The way you drive can also hurt your engine, so in this article, we’ll look at a few simple ways to change some driving habits to give your engine a little more time to last a long time.

New car? Be respectful to him

If you’re brand new, keep in mind that it requires a break-in period to help all moving parts adjust and settle. It’s hard to resist the temptation to give it some wax up front, especially if it’s a high-performance vehicle, but taking it through normal lap regimes and at legal speeds for the first 1,500 kilometers (more or less) could mark a big difference in the future. Consult your owner’s manual for the best way to seat and protect your new motor.

Respect the warm-up times

On days when you’re not in a rush, and even on cold mornings from time to time, start the car and let it relax . Colder weather is tough on the engine and more power is needed to start and run, since the battery has a lower charge. The oil, thick due to the low temperatures, also helps to increase the difficulty for the correct functioning of the internal parts that are subjected to so much stress. Still, try to run the car on days that are either extremely cold or very, very hot.

Don’t force the transmission (if it’s manual)

If you’re driving a manual vehicle and are passed by an uglier, older, slower car, stepping on the gas at low revs, or when you’re in high gear, is a bad idea. That makes the engine work more unnecessarily and will cause premature wear , so watch the tachometer (rev counter) and downshift before pressing the right pedal. And if you want to reduce, avoid overusing the engine brake : it damages the powertrain and should be used only in extreme cases such as driving in winter, when the road is icy and slippery.

On the other hand, some tend to drive with their foot on the clutch pedal . This creates unnecessary friction that, over a long period of time, causes the clutch to wear prematurely . Similarly, it’s tempting to rest your hand on the gear lever, but this puts pressure on the selector fork and other internals. The extra friction accelerates wear and tear on the transmission, so try to get into the habit of moving your hand on the steering wheel and placing your left foot in another part of the footwell.

Avoid carrying too heavy objects

Smaller cars with even more modest engines have a hard time lugging large items. Reducing the amount of weight you carry not only reduces the load on your engine, it also helps you get better performance thanks to better fuel efficiency. For heavy loads, there are also trucks (pick-up) dedicated, which typically have large motors and powerful with great force. This is because they are designed to tow and transport things many times their own size and weight.

Meets maintenance intervals

Regular maintenance is vital to keep a car in top condition and extend its life. Service intervals are based on time or kilometers traveled; check the manual to find out when it should be done and what is required. Luckily, most modern vehicles are already able to tell you when it’s time to check, that is, the typical oil and oil filter change, and replace other fluids if necessary. Depending on the model and mileage, the air filter and spark plugs may also be covered .

Do not run out of fuel

When the car runs out of its liquid gold, the fuel pump sucks the air in the circuit, causing sediment from the bottom of the tank to be sucked up in an attempt to power the engine. Unwanted materials can clog the system and sometimes corrode the pump and filters, blocking fuel inlet and starting. The owners of diesel should be especially careful with low levels of fuel because their engines injectors introduce large amounts of air into the system and can fail earlier.

Pay attention to the witnesses on the instrument panel

It can be easy to ignore the warning lights , especially when there doesn’t seem to be any difference when they come on in the instrument cluster. However, letting the problems develop could spell an untimely end for the car. Engine, brake and power steering warning lights indicate some of the most pressing failures that could lead to expensive repair bills – or worse, an unsafe driving situation. The same approach to unusual noises will also help eliminate problems in the bud.

Temperatures also affect

Much of the damage occurs in winter , when you tend to make a very common mistake: starting the car and letting it idle until the engine reaches its normal operating temperature. If the vehicle does not have auxiliary heat, this can do more harm than good because the engine heats up at a much slower rate when idling. Oil flow and temperatures also rise more slowly, and more exhaust gases can clog the catalytic converter, causing increased fuel consumption and emissions (or causing a failure).

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