3 tips for operating your car to make it last

Maybe you went to driving school, or were taught by parents or relatives. But there's nothing wrong with learning a few new tricks to correct car operation — consider this a quick 'n' easy refresher course.

3 tips for operating your car to make it last

1. Be patient during the break-in period

  • You've bought your dream car and now you want to make it last at long as possible in top condition.
  • Here are some things to remember as you pull it out of the dealer's lot: During the break-in period, typically the first 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles), keep your speed under (88 kilometres per hour (55 miles per hour) or to the speed recommended by your car's manufacturer.
  • Avoid heavy loads on the drive train, such as towing trailers, and loading the roof rack or trunk with heavy construction materials.
  • Do not allow your new car to idle for long periods — this is good advice for the life of your car, but especially during break-in.
  • The oil pressure generated by doing so may not be sending oil to every part of your engine.
  • Use only light to medium acceleration, keeping the engine rpms below 3,000 for the first few hours of driving.

2. Go easy when you’re stuck

  • When stuck in mud or snow, don't make the problem worse by damaging an expensive component. Gently rocking in an attempt to free the car is fine.
  • But if it looks as though you're really stuck, don't keep at it.
  • Throwing your car from forward to reverse repeatedly, as well as spinning tires at high speeds, can generate lots of heat and spell trouble for transmissions, clutches and differentials.
  • It may be cheaper in the long run to call the tow truck rather than risk big repair bills down the road.
  • It's a good idea to carry a traction aid in the trunk, such as sand, gravel or cat litter.

3. Don't drive with your foot on the brake

  • Don't rest your foot on the brake pedal as you drive.
  • Even slight pressure can cause a drag that will wear out your brakes and waste gasoline.
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