There is never a convenient time for car repairs and breakdowns. They always seemingly happen out of nowhere to ruin your day and lighten your wallet. However, there are ways to protect your car so you can avoid the pricey garage. Stay safe and keep that money in your bank account with the help of these five tips to protect your car.
Drive with Intelligence and Care
Much like the human body, cars shouldn't be constantly pushed to the limit. Frequent rapid acceleration and hard braking can take its toll on your car (and possibly affect the discount you could get if enrolled in a usage-based insurance program.) In case of an emergency, it is good to know that the car is capable of such feats, but should only happen when it is entirely necessary.
Outside of driver behaviour, minimize your car's wear-and-tear and:
- Limit the strain on your car by consolidating your shorter driving trips and run several errands at once.
- Take your car out onto the highway at least once a month for 20 minutes if you’re usually a city driver. This will get your engine’s juices flowing and burn off any condensation that driving in stop-and-go traffic just doesn’t do.
- Avoid weighing down your car with too much weight. Using your trunk as storage not only adds weight to the vehicle putting more strain on it, but it also decreases your fuel efficiency.
- Shift to neutral while stopped in traffic jams or red lights. This will put less strain on your engine, which when in drive—but stopped—is still working to push the car forward.
- Take extra care to observe speed limits during extreme weather temperatures.
- In extreme temperatures, especially in the winter, drive with ease for the first few kilometres to give the car’s fluids an opportunity to warm up to their optimal operating temperatures.
- Avoid holding your steering wheel in the extreme left or right position to prevent damage to the power-steering pump.
Choose The Right Gasoline
Going back to the human body analogy, humans and cars both require the right fuel to operate at peak levels. For humans, we need high quality, nutrient-dense food to be at our best. However if we intake junk food, we're not getting the proper fuel, making us feel sluggish. Cars are no different. Ensure that your car is getting the appropriate gas as required by the owner’s manual.
If your car requires premium gasoline, putting in a lower grade can result in your engine producing odd sounds that are often described as a ping or knock. If this happens often, it can lead to engine damage, loss of performance and decreased fuel efficiency.
Detailing and Rust-Proofing Your Car
With Canadian winters seemingly lasting nearly half of the year, it is incredibly important to keep the inside and outside of your car as clean as possible. Snow, sleet, road salt, sand, and gravel can wreak havoc on your car. It will get into every tiny crack and crevice of your car and could cause rust. Have your car washed, waxed, cleaned, and detailed frequently (even in the winter). There are also many affordable rust-proofing services and products to invest in your car's future. The small price to pay for these preventative services won't even compare to the grand cost of fixing your broken car. Your car will last longer and it will look as good as new!
Take Proper Tire Care
It cannot be understated how important it is to ensure all of your tires are properly inflated. You should check the air pressure of your tires once a month. Tires that aren't inflated properly are naturally more susceptible to flat tires and blowouts.
According to the Rubber Association of Canada, Be Tire Smart site, under or over-inflated tires will cause handling issues while driving; you may not be able to accelerate, brake or steer properly. Add to this fact that they also claim that properly inflated tires could save the average Canadian the equivalent of two weeks worth of gas every year, and you've got a few very good reasons to check your tire pressure regularly.
A simple tire rotation can also extend the lives of your tires and save you money. Tire rotation is the process of swapping the rear tires on the front, and the front tires on the rear. Tires should be rotated every 10,000 km to help even out wear patterns and make your tires last longer.
Sometimes it’s not about maintenance, it’s about repairs, and often repairs are a result of accidents or some other damage that your auto insurance will cover. Your car insurance policy is there to help your car get back to normal, so make sure your car has the protection it needs with the proper coverage—but don’t overpay for it. Compare car insurance quotes to find the best auto insurance price for the coverage that gives you the protection you need.