How to keep your car in good condition

Posted on: 17 March 2017

A car represents a significant financial investment for most people. As such, it's worth doing what you can to look after it, so that you can keep it in roadworthy condition for as long as possible. Here are two ways to do this.

Adjust your driving habits

There are a number of common driving habits which can drastically shorten the lifespan of your vehicle. One example of this is revving your engine without allowing it to warm up first. After the ignition is switched on, it can take several seconds for the components within the engine to become fully lubricated by the engine oil. Any revving that occurs before this lubrication process is complete could cause friction which may, in turn, result in damage to crucial components.

'Riding the clutch' is another driving habit that can lead to serious car problems. This is when a driver keeps their vehicle's clutch pedal partially depressed whilst slowing down for traffic or turning corners. Riding the clutch results in contact between the clutch plate and the pressure pad, but does not allow for full engagement of the clutch. Because of this, excess friction is created; this friction can result in the clutch wearing down and failing prematurely.

Get your engine tuned up on a regular basis

The engine is one of your vehicle's most vital features. Taking good care of it will not only help to extend the lifespan of your car but will also improve its overall performance on the road. The most effective way to keep your engine (and, by extension, your vehicle) in good condition is to have it tuned-up by a qualified mechanic on a regular basis.

Infrequent tune-ups can lead to several issues; if you skip your tune-up appointments once too often, you may start to notice that your vehicle stalls a lot or that it seems to be consuming more fuel than it once did. Additionally, you might find that the engine seems to misfire and that the car becomes much harder to start.

Periodic tune-ups can prevent all of these problems. A tune-up typically consists of a visual examination of the engine as well as a number of routine checks. The mechanic will use a chemical substance to rinse deposits of dirt and grime off the fuel injectors and will also top up the coolant and oil levels. Additionally, they may inspect and, if necessary, replace the spark plugs and the engine's air filter.

Address engine oil leaks promptly

A few drops of oil underneath your vehicle may not seem like a serious problem. However, if you fail to address an oil leak promptly, you could find yourself dealing with major engine damage that could affect the road worthiness of your car. Oil leaks can cause a car's engine to overheat which, in turn, could eventually lead to it breaking down.

Whilst there are several issues that can result in an engine oil leak, the most common culprit is a broken valve cover gasket (this serves as a seal, which joins two components together inside an engine). In such cases, the leak can be resolved by replacing the affected gasket.

A word of warning; should you find out that your car's oil leak is being caused by a gasket issue, don't be tempted to buy a cheap 'one-size-fits-all' replacement part from an online shop, as this type of product won't be an exact fit for your particular car and as such, could cause yet another oil leak later down the line. So for instance, if you have a Holden car, find a reputable mechanic that can source Holden parts on your behalf and then ask them to perform the replacement job for you.