Did you know that how you drive can impact the life of your engine? In fact, how well you treat your car from behind the wheel has a significant bearing you how well it runs and for how long. Poor driving practices can impact many integral parts of your vehicle such as the engine, transmission, brakes and more. Here are some tips from your auto repair experts at Master Muffler on what not to do when you’re behind the wheel.

1. Braking Downhill

Though we always need to be ready to stop at any moment, riding the brakes when driving downhill can have a significant, negative effect on the braking system. Though we may be tempted to put our foot on the brake pedal as we coast, it’s a practice better off avoided, if possible. Instead, try reducing speed before a hill and simply removing your foot from the accelerator. If you start picking up too much speed, slow yourself down a little, then remove the foot once again.

2. Punching the Gas

Abruptly accelerating when your vehicle is in a high gear or running at a low rpm can cause undue wear and tear on your engine. Though there are times when quick acceleration is necessary, don’t make a habit out of it. Unless you need to make a quick turn or pick up speed to match the flow of traffic, ease into the gas pedal. It will increase the life of your engine. 

3. Not Letting Your Engine Warm up in Cold Weather

Combustion engines, as their name suggests, use spark and flame to propel your vehicle forward. When your vehicle is exposed to cold temperatures then immediately driven, it forces your engine to work under load before oil can properly lubricate it. The rapid change in temperature likewise causes strain on other components of your vehicle. In order to prevent this, let your care idle for a minute or two before setting off. Also, avoid at all costs, revving your engine right after starting it up. Give it a minute before stomping the gas pedal. 

4. Shifting Gears Before Stopping Completely

We are all guilty of this, but a little impatience goes a long way in harming a vehicle. Though it can be tempting to prematurely shift the car into drive after backing out of the driveway or to throw it into park a little too soon, this is very harmful practice for the transmission and can take thousands of miles off its life if done regularly. Before shifting between park, drive and reverse whether you drive a manual or automatic, make sure you come to a complete stop. 

5. Avoiding the Parking Brake

The parking brake goes by two names which creates ambiguity with regards to its purpose. Though also an ‘emergency brake,’ the parking brake is meant to be used every time the vehicle is parked regardless of the terrain. When the parking brake is ignored, it puts strain on the transmission which, over time, can compound and cause problems. Make sure to activate the parking brake every time you park your vehicle.

6. Driving Over Bumps at High Speeds

This one is for your suspension. Driving over speed bumps or dips at careless speeds damages your shocks and struts. Impatience is a driver’s worst enemy. It may seem like a pain to nearly come to a full stop before driving over a bump, but the pain will be greater in the end if you don’t. It is a wise driving practice to cool the jets, even more so than you think necessary, before hitting any bump.

7. Ignoring Maintenance and Warning Lights

This one is a big one. Warning lights are intended for emergency situations when your car’s electronics sense a problem with your vehicle. Dashboard car lights, especially the check engine light, can be indications of serious problems. Ignoring them could potentially lead to a breakdown. When it comes to engine diagnostics and the necessary Utah auto care required to address care troubles, Master Muffler has your back. If you see a light come on and don’t have a good idea as to why, bring it in for a diagnostic. Whether you just need an oil change or a full engine repair, we are here to help.