9 Driving Habits That Are Damaging Your Car

A male driver incorporating safe driving habits

While technology in vehicles has come a long way, there are still some driving habits that can severely affect your vehicle. This can lead to costly damage and shortening the overall lifespan of your car. Therefore, eradicating these bad driving habits will not only increase your vehicle’s life cycle but also save you from costly repairs and frequent maintenance visits. That is why we’ve highlighted a few driving habits to avoid to ensure your car is in good condition.

Shifting from Drive to Reverse While Still Moving

This habit is probably the most severe out of the rest and can be costlier. This driving habit takes a big toll on your transmission every time you shift from drive to reverse or vice versa without coming to a complete stop. Your vehicle’s transmission depends on your brakes to switch gears in a smooth transition, so not coming to a full stop and trying to switch gears can become a major problem.

Slamming On Your Brakes

While slamming on your brakes is sometimes necessary to avoid a collision, doing this regularly can have negative effects. This driving habit can cause your brake pads and discs to wear out much faster. Additionally, slamming on your brakes constantly can lead to tears and cracks in the hoses, leading to leaks, affecting the overall performance and potentially putting you and others at risk. Slamming on your brakes only when necessary can also save you money by conserving fuel.

Going Over Speed Bumps and Potholes at a High Speed

Accelerating through speed bumps can hurt your vehicle’s suspension and can cause misalignment, which will affect your steering. Doing this continuously can also affect the undercarriage of your car and can even cause leaks, which can lead to all kinds of problems and repairs.

While speed bumps are there for a reason and can be easy to spot, the same cannot be said for potholes. Try to keep a lookout for these, especially during the night and rainy conditions as they can be harder to see. Not paying attention and going over potholes at a high speed can also cause your tire to blow out while damaging your suspension, steering, and alignment. If you come across potholes or speed bumps, your best bet is to slow down.

Overloading Your Car

This is a common driving habit, especially when going on trips or moving. Although it might seem harmless, overloading your car can impact your car’s suspension and brakes. Furthermore, all the extra weight affects your vehicle’s performance when it comes to fuel efficiency and even exhaust emissions, harming the environment. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind what the recommended weight capacity for your vehicle is as you can find this in the owner’s manual. 

Revving a Cold Engine

Letting your car’s engine warm-up in the morning lets oil circulate throughout the engine. Revving your car while the engine is still “cold” can cause unnecessary wear and tear to parts in the engine that have not fully warmed up.

Riding the Clutch

This driving habit is strictly for those driving vehicles with manual transmissions. Resting your foot, or, “riding the clutch” can lead to wear and tear and severely shorten the lifespan of your clutch. By resting your foot on the pedal you cause unnecessary friction between the flywheel on the engine and the clutch. Get rid of this bad driving habit by only resting your foot on the clutch when necessary.

Ignoring Dashboard Warning Signs

Another common driving habit is to ignore those dashboard lights, but not paying attention to your vehicle’s warning signals can lead to costly repairs down the road and can lead you stranded in some cases. Therefore, it is best to familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s warning signs by checking the owner’s manual and learn what each means or at least recognize the most important ones. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Check Engine Light
  • Braking System
  • Battery Light
  • Airbag Light
  • Oil Light

Running On Fumes

Driving your car with a near-empty gas tank damages several parts of your vehicle. Fuel also acts as a lubricant for your engine, without it you risk damaging your fuel pump, fuel system, and catalytic converter. Therefore always try to fill up when your car has about a quarter tank left.

Accelerating While In a High Gear

This driving habit places unnecessary stress on your car’s engine, which can lead to malfunction down the road. Try changing down a gear, this allows the revs to rise, easing your engine’s strain before accelerating again.

Get Back On the Road With Ric’s Body & Paint

Breaking all of these bad driving habits will help extend your vehicle’s lifespan and also save you money on costly repairs and maintenance visits. But even with all these tips, we understand accidents happen on the road in mere seconds. Therefore if you’ve suffered a collision or need any auto repair Ric’s Body & Paint will take care of you and get you back on the road. 

With over 44 years of experience, we offer I-CAR Gold certified repair technicians, state-of-the-art equipment, and original equipment manufacturer, and high-quality parts. We focus on getting you and your car back to it’s best and on the road. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

5 Tips to Maintain Your Electric Vehicle

A blue electric vehicle tesla is driving along the highway

There are many benefits to owning an electric vehicle, including being better for the environment, saving you money when it comes to gas, and avoiding other gas engine related maintenance like oil changes. But even though electric vehicles might require less maintenance than traditional engine cars, this does not mean they don’t require any maintenance at all. 

Keeping up with these five aspects of maintenance will ensure that you can get the most out of your electric vehicle and save you from problems down the road. 

Battery

Arguably the most important component when it comes to electric vehicles, your car’s battery is the equivalent of a traditional car’s engine. Therefore it is crucial to maintain the battery as this can affect its performance, longevity, and residual value later on. 

While electric car batteries degrade over time just like engines do, there are some things drivers can do to help prevent the battery from degrading and extend its life lifecycle.

  • Do not drain your battery completely empty often, this can also be said for charging the battery to full capacity often as well. Charging your battery repeatedly and draining it to empty can degrade the battery over time. Instead, it is best to keep your battery between 80-20%. Road trips are an exception as you can take full advantage of your battery’s mileage range, but during everyday driving, it is best to avoid overcharging and draining the battery to empty.
  • When possible, avoid leaving your electric car in extreme temperatures as both hot and cold temperatures can negatively affect your battery’s performance. Try keeping your car in a shaded area during hot temperatures and in a garage during cold temperatures as this can help increase your battery’s range.

Brakes

Electric vehicles have a regenerative braking system that differs from traditional engine cars. This system uses the car’s battery resistance to slow the car down, minimizing the use of traditional friction brakes. Even though the regenerative braking system is doing most of the work when braking, electric cars still have friction brakes. Therefore keeping up with your brake pads and rotors, along with brake fluid, will ensure your brakes are always performing the way they were designed to.

Tires

Tire rotation and alignment are important aspects to maintain in all car types. While electric vehicle owners should follow the manufacturer’s maintenance timeline, it is important to routinely check tire pressure and tread as electric vehicles can wear down the tires faster. This is suspected because of the increased torque and weight of electric vehicles. Additionally, there are tire options specifically designed for electric vehicles that can help prolong any wear and tear.

Coolant

Maintaining your electric vehicle’s fluids is necessary to avoid overheating electrical components such as the charger, inverter, and battery. Additionally, air conditioning systems in electric vehicles will require coolant flushes that can range from 50k miles up to 150k miles. Drivers should consult with their owner’s manual and be aware of when and how often these procedures should take place.

Powertrain

Although rare, direct-drive or multi-speed transmissions of electric vehicles may need lubricant. This is usually a sealed system that does not need to be changed but that isn’t always the case. Drivers should consult with their owner’s manual and find out if and when these services are required for their electric vehicles.

Get Back On the Road With Ric’s Body & Paint

With over 44 years of experience, we provide exceptional quality and precision craftsmanship to every vehicle. Our team of technicians is proud to service all vehicles, whether they are electric or gas-powered. As of 2020, Ric’s Body & Paint is certified in repairing Tesla vehicles after a collision. Our experienced technicians continually update their training to meet I-CAR Gold Class and Automotive Service Association (ASA) certification standards, ensuring all work is done correctly and up to manufacturer standards. Contact us today and get your vehicle back to its best.

4 Tips to Avoid Airbag Injuries

The inside of a car after a collision with their airbag deployed

In the case of a collision, airbags are tasked to deploy in milliseconds in order to keep vehicle passengers safe. The airbag inflates in less than 1/20th of a second once they get a signal from the car that a crash has happened. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) both side and frontal airbags saved approximately 50,457 lives between 1987 and 2017. 

And while these safety mechanisms are undoubtedly here to protect us, sometimes these airbags can cause injuries. These injuries are especially severe for young passengers and pets. Injuries can include broken noses, ribs, lacerations to wrists, and some more serious injuries such as organ failure and internal bleeding.

Nonetheless, there are ways to avoid such injuries, minimizing the risk while keeping you and your loved ones safe in the case of an auto collision.

Avoiding Airbag Injuries

Wear Your Seatbelt

Make sure you and everyone in your vehicle wears their seatbelt. While airbags are safety measures to keep you safe in case of an accident, they are not a standalone feature. Airbags are a supplement to seatbelts, not a replacement. Wearing your seatbelt will reduce the risk of you jerking forward, hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, window, side door or even worse being ejected through the front window of the vehicle.

Scoot Your Seat As Far As Comfortable

Sitting as far back as it is possible will reduce the risk of injury to your face and chest areas. The NHTSA recommends a distance of 10-12 inches between the driver and the steering wheel, this will allow both the seatbelt to work and reduce the speed of impact with you and the airbag once it deploys.

Place Kids In the Back

All kids 12 years and younger should be seated in the backseat and in appropriate child seats according to their size. NEVER place infant seats in the front passenger seat as this can be fatal due to the injuries caused by the speed of airbag deployment. The NHTSA has produced a clear guideline for all car seats and booster seats to keep your children safe in the back of the vehicle.

Keep Your Hands In the 9 and 3 o’clock Positions

Try to maintain your hands in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions on the steering wheel while driving. This can reduce the risk of your wrist or arms flinging forcefully as the airbag deploys, causing painful injuries resulting in broken bones.

Auto Collision Repair With Ric’s Body & Paint

These tips can greatly reduce the risk of you and your loved ones being injured by airbags in case of a collision. We also know that accidents happen in milliseconds and things happen on the road that are out of your control. If you’ve suffered a collision, our expert technicians at Ric’s Body & Paint will work with you to restore your vehicle to its original condition. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!