Slamming the Brakes on Slip-Ups: 9 Things You Should Never Do to Your Car


For many people, their vehicle is the second most expensive item they own behind their homes. Cars are a significant investment, so you want to ensure that your car lasts you for years, if not decades. If you’re looking to keep your ride running smoothly for as long as possible, here are nine maintenance no-nos you should never do to your car.

Entrusting your vehicle with an under-qualified auto shipping provider

When you hand your keys over to someone else, you’re trusting that they’re going to take care of your car the way you would. When investing in car transportation services from state to state, you won’t want to entrust just anyone with the shipment of your vehicle. The farther it has to go, the stricter your pre-ship vetting process should be.

If the service you’re looking at makes enormous promises, has many negative reviews with the Better Business Bureau, or won’t offer proof of operations, it’s time to move on to another option. Don’t trust your car with a provider that doesn’t display honesty.

A reliable car shipping will be upfront about services and costs. Additionally, reputable auto transporters will have all necessary documentation to prove insurance, licensing, and a positive track record. Don’t let your car take knicks and dings from a bad shipping service.

Overfilling your tires to get a better gas mileage

Plenty of people claim that you can achieve better gas mileage for your car by overfilling your tires with air. While that sounds like a great way to save some money at the gas pump, it comes with hidden costs to your suspension and your riding comfort.

Overfilled tires are more reactive to bumps and potholes, meaning you and your passengers might feel like beads in a maraca on rough roads. Since the tires can’t absorb any shock when overfilled, you’ll also be replacing that suspension system far sooner than you should. For best results, fill your tires to the manufacturer’s specifications and no fuller.

Disconnecting a battery cable while the car is running

Before manufacturers started integrating computers into their vehicles, this practice was a common way to test if the alternator worked. If the car kept running without a connection to the battery, the alternator was working as it should.

The problem nowadays is the computer components in modern cars. These electronics are sensitive to voltage changes which happen if you disconnect the battery with the engine running. If you don’t want to burn out any pricey electronics, cut the car off before unplugging any cables.

Frequently driving with less than a quarter tank of gas

Your car can handle running on low fuel for brief spurts of time. However, consistently running on a low tank of gas will eventually do damage to your fuel pump and filters.

This damage happens when sediment from the bottom of the fuel tank is sucked up into the sock filter for the fuel pump. Over time, that sediment builds up and blocks the fuel line, forcing your pump to work harder to inject fuel into the engine. Staying topped off on fuel keeps that build-up from occurring and saves you a massive headache down the road.

Using dish detergent to wash your car

Dish detergent is excellent when you need to fight the grease and oils left behind by foods. However, this detergent is also good at pulling the wax and oils from the paint job on your car, ruining the finish.

Instead of using detergent, try using a dedicated car wash soap. It’s not much more expensive than regular household soaps, and the design will keep the wax and paint of your car intact.

Neglecting the oil dipstick

Your owner’s manual makes a recommendation on how often you should change your oil. Since the oil in your car is critical for the engine to stay healthy, check your oil dipstick often and top up on oil when you see it starting to run low. If not, you run the risk of your engine overheating and grinding itself to dust.

Leaving sealed drinks in the car

Have you ever seen a video of someone’s soda bursting inside a car from the heat? That’s precisely why you don’t want to leave any sealed drinks inside an unattended vehicle.

Sugary drinks, in particular, are bad for your car’s interior. The sugar can gum up electronics and buttons, make your interior sticky, and attract insects. It’s better to take your drinks with you when you stop or leave them unsealed to avoid messes.

Driving without shoes

While it’s not illegal to drive barefoot, it’s a bad idea. Your shoes are for more than just protecting your feet and adding to your outfit.

If you need to make a sudden stop, you might not want to press down as hard on the brakes with a barefoot as the surface of the pedal digs into your soles. Also, if you need to exit the car for an emergency, you might end up slicing your feet on any broken glass or other debris.

Wrapping it up

While there are several things to keep in mind with your car and its maintenance, these tips should cover the issues most folks have with their cars’ upkeep. Follow these guidelines for a long and healthy relationship with your smooth cruiser.