Any vehicle owner knows that failing to regularly change a car's oil can destroy the engine. Even a novice will get the clue that something is wrong if the brakes are shaking or an engine warning light is on. And vehicle owner manuals guide us on what maintenance we should perform and when. But without being a car aficionado, it is more difficult to know what to avoid when it comes to daily use of a car. Most people have probably made simple, mindless mistakes in car care, without realizing the potential risk to their vehicles.
When parking on an incline, it is not only important to employ the parking brake, but also to manage the brakes in the proper sequence. First, you should come to a complete stop using the standard foot brake. Next, engage the parking brake, and shift into park if you have an automatic transmission. Only then should you release the foot brake. If you only use park or shift into park first, the weight of the vehicle will rest on the parking prawl, a pin that locks the transmission to keep your car parked. Without the parking brake engaged, all of the force trying to roll the car down the hill rests on this pin. Even if the mechanism does not fail, the unnecessary force that will be applied to shift back out of park can potentially damage the components of the mechanism.
With an automatic transmission, it is also important not to shift without coming to a complete stop first. Shifting from drive to reverse or reverse to drive without being completely stopped can cause serious damage to the transmission, a complex component of the car that is expensive and difficult to repair.
Another easily avoided way to damage a car is driving until the fuel tank is empty, or driving with a consistently low amount of fuel. Waiting for the fuel light to come on before refilling the tank is not a good practice for any car. Consistently driving a car with less than about a quarter of a tank can lead to an eventual fuel filter and pump trouble that could have been prevented by simply refueling sooner.
Even if you are not a mechanical expert, becoming familiar with the parts under the hood of your car while it is in good shape can prevent you from getting stranded. If you take notice of the normal appearance and sound of belts and hoses, it is more likely that you will notice when something is awry. Being in tune with your car's regular performance and avoiding the thoughtless actions pointed out above will help you escape needless mechanic visits accompanied by unwanted repair charges.