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Nine Secrets To Maintaining Your Car

By Steve Wilcott

Robert Sikorskyís little book Drive It Forever offers invaluable tips to keep your car going the extra mile. His stellar advice could save you a yearís worth of car payments or more!

The smoother you drive, the longer your car will run. Stopping and starting, fast lane changes, scratching off all lead to shorter life for your car.

Naturally, you canít drive at all without stopping and starting. But your goal is to keep moving smoothly any time that you can. Does it look like a stoplight is about to turn green? Then slow down and if possible, gently keep moving until the light changes.

Less engine idle means less engine wear, says Sikorsky. If you have to idle longer than 30 seconds, you may as well turn the engine off and start it when youíre ready to roll. So turn off the car if youíre waiting in parking lots, waiting on others to ready themselves for travel, if you have to go back in the house for something, etc.

And never rev up the car while itís not moving.

If youíre driving in ďbumper to bumperĒ barely moving traffic, itís wise to turn your air conditioner off. This saves a lot of wear on your car. The engine has to work overtime if the air is on and youíre stopping and starting frequently.

Youíve probably heard that itís good to take your car out periodically for a good drive on the highway now and again, and thatís good advice. This allows your engine to get fully warmed up and helps get rid of some deposits built up by short trips.

If itís below freezing, try not to take your car out on short trips of less than five miles. Sikorsky says this is one of the worst possible conditions for your car.

Donít cruise around a parking lot forever, trying to find a spot. Go ahead and park further away and get in a little exercise.

Avoid accelerating suddenly unless thereís an emergency situation. Putting the pedal to the metal may get you someplace today, but tomorrow you may end up hitching a ride from a neighbor.

If possible, donít park your car headed uphill. When youíre ready to start it later, the engine will have to use extra power to pull itself. Itís better to park headed downhill than uphill.

Driving on dusty roads cuts your gas mileage considerably as well as adds to engine wear.

Iíve found Drive It Forever a valuable read! Itís personal, and easy to read, even if youíre mechanically challenged.

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