The best ways to reduce wear and tear to your car
Cars are complicated things that need routine maintenance to work at their best. But when things are getting tough, it's easy to scrimp on the essentials.
Not only does that risk letting your car feel worn-out and tired, but it can also potentially be dangerous when parts are used beyond their intended mileage.
So, if you want to reduce wear and tear on your car, here are some handy ways to keep parts feeling fresh.
1) Start slowly with small changes
Caring for your car can begin first thing in the morning. Avoid jumping straight in and revving the engine hard from the get go.
Start your journey by keeping the revs low - below 3,000rpm ideally - to let the engine and gearbox fluids spread through the moving parts effectively. Doing this will reduce internal wear considerably.
2) Avoid aggressive stopping and starting
Driving aggressively in traffic means you are pressing the accelerator and brakes hard. This is extremely inefficient and causes not only more fuel to be burned, but also more wear on your brakes.
Driving smoothly will save fuel and improve your miles per gallon, while increasing the longevity of your brake components.
3) Beware the pothole peril
Avoid potholes. UK roads have become infested with damaged surfaces. A big one can cause serious damage to tyres, suspension and even exhaust systems.
Some experts suggest a third of all UK road damage is caused by potholes. Don’t swerve madly around them and risk causing an accident; instead, scan the road surface ahead and steer smoothly around any potholes.
4) Keep your speed down
High speeds place more strain on some components – sudden changes in speed are even more damaging. Fierce acceleration, braking and steering create extra wear on tyres, steering and suspension system.
If you have a manual car, change gear smoothly before the engine starts screaming at you.
Keeping a good distance to the car ahead can also help you drive more smoothly as you've more time to react to speed changes in the traffic.
Tailgating not only risks an accident, but also forces you to react more suddenly, wearing those parts quicker.
5) Practice clutch kindness
If you drive a manual, be considerate of your clutch. It eventually wears out and is expensive to replace. Don’t hold the car on the clutch while waiting on a hill.
Use the handbrake and neutral gear. Some drivers rest their foot on the clutch pedal all the time – that can accelerate wear. Rest your left foot to the side of the pedal instead.
6) Slow for the bumps
Obviously, speed bumps are designed to slow you down. Some are more extreme than others.
Impatient drivers often take them too fast and the resulting impact can damage many parts of the underside of your car, rapidly increase wear to your suspension and even send your wheel alignment out. That, in turn, speeds up tyre wear.
7) Don’t drive on empty
Avoid frequently driving on an empty fuel tank. The sediment at the bottom of your fuel tank (which builds up over time) can clog up filters in the engine. It's good to keep at least a quarter of a tank in your car so as to ensure there's enough liquid in the system to prevent clogging.
That said, we'd also advise that you don't drive around with too much fuel in your car, as extra weight increases wear.
Needlessly carrying a full tank of petrol, or any form of unnecessary weight, requires your engine to work harder, your brakes to get hotter and your tyres to wear quicker.
Weight is an all-around negative thing - hence the lightweighting obsession of sports car makers.
8) Provide service
Regular maintenance really helps keep the car in top condition. Stick to the recommended service intervals so all the major jobs like oil changes and tuning are done.
Also remember the more frequent checks that you are supposed to do yourself, like tyre wear - the UK minimum is 1.6mm of tread depth across 75% of the tyre, but we'd advise changing your tyres when they get to 3mm - plus, oil and coolant levels.
Doing this won't just reduce wear and tear on other components, but also improve safety and the performance of your car. It's a win-win-win thing.
9) Keep it clean
Cleaning isn’t just for showing off. Road salts, brake dust and general dirt can be corrosive to the car bodywork and mechanical components.
Professionals advise a thorough wash fortnightly, but high mileage drivers might see fit to reduce that window further, particularly in the winter.
If your car has leather seats or interior trim, it's a good habit to treat them with leather cream once in a while, to prevent the chances of the material drying out and cracking. We'd also advise using a rain repellant cleaner on the windscreen to help disperse water quicker and reduce the workload of your wipers in the wet.