Nothing beats the excitement of getting behind the wheel of a new car. Once you start that engine there’s no stopping you (save for the traffic lights of course)! It’s important to remember that your pride and joy needs care just as much as you do and failing to do so can be costly. We’ve included below some of the ways that you could be killing your car slowly without even realising.

Skipping the scheduled maintenance

If you’re not the type to get your hands dirty and check over your car’s vitals often such as oil, water and other fluid levels, a scheduled maintenance is a lifesaver. However, many car owners put this off for the next week, the next month, or even longer until they encounter a problem. By then, the issues could have worsened so much that the repair turns out to be more costly than it would have been if detected earlier.

Ignoring the check engine light

The check engine light is there to let you know that there’s a problem with the engine. What it doesn’t tell you is that it’s eating up your fuel. Usually, the check engine light comes on when there’s an issue with the engine sensor that’s caused by a dirty air filter. Not checking on this could lead to damage and a replacement of the engine’s catalytic converter, setting you back around $1000.

Not changing the oil

An oil change isn’t the most exciting thing to do on a weekend, but the longer you drive with dirty oil containing metal particles, sludge and grime, the more it damages the engine. Topping up your oil isn’t a quick fix because all the things you’re supposed to clean remains in the tank.

Running on tyres with uneven pressure

Underinflated tyres flex more and cause heat to build up, which wears them out faster. It also makes your car less fuel efficient and more difficult to handle because of its reduced braking ability and traction. Read more about maintaining your tyres here.

Revving the engine when the car is still cold

Revving over and over doesn’t distribute the oil in the engine faster. What it does is cause abrupt temperature changes that leave acids and toxins that are harmful to the engine. It takes about 30 seconds to a minute before all the components are up to temperature and you’re ready to hit the road. This is true for new engines and with catalytic converters and even the old ones.

Not waiting for the engine to cool down

Turbo engines, often used in European cars, spin at 100,000 to 200,000 rpm and can become very hot. Turning off its engine will dry up the oil and leaving it running with zero lubrication. If this is the case, it will wear out and need replacement faster.

Keeping your foot on the clutch

A lot of people keep the clutch pressed in so they’ll be good to go when the light turns green. This seemingly harmless habit causes the clutch plates to scratch against each other and can eventually make them fail. The more ideal approach is to put your car in neutral and step on the clutch when you’re ready to go.

Abusing the car

Sometimes traffic is an unavoidable part of driving, but did you know this could cause problems with your car? This is especially true if your braking and accelerating hard. It causes strain on the rotors and the hard acceleration will eat up your fuel faster while also putting strain on the drivetrain components.

Driving it dirty

When it starts to rain, certain drivers who shall remain unnamed will probably tell themselves “Awesome, free car wash!”. While that seems like a “neat” approach, you run the risk of getting a buildup of chemicals and debris that can corrode to your paint. Your car’s paint job does more than just make the car look good, it also helps to protect the car body from the elements. Reducing the risk to your paint chipping, means reducing the risk of rust too. Not only that, if you plan on selling your car at some stage in the future, it’s a good idea to take care of the appearance so you’re more likely to get a higher sale price. It’s win-win right?

A car wash and wax application every month isn’t going to cost a fortune. It extends your car’s good performance so there’s nothing to lose.

Neglecting unusual signs

You, more than anyone else, know your car’s quirks. You need to pay attention to strange vibrations, squeaks and knocks and inspect it instead of waiting it out and having to pay for replacements and repairs in the long run.

Maybe you’re guilty of some of these activities, and if you are that’s ok! You can always start taking care of your vehicle starting now. Watch how you’re driving, look out for any strange sounds, keep it clean and get regular check ups at the mechanic to keep on top of any issues and you’ll preserve not only the life of the car, but the value too.