What Destroys Your Cars?

Road conditions. The ideal road is one that is open, flat, straight, and smooth. The worst is one that is bumpy and congested with many sharp turns. “Stop and go” traffic situations put strain on the engine, drivetrain, brakes, and suspension.

Climate. The ideal climate for cars is one that does not get excessively hot or excessively cold. Extreme heat causes parts to expand, crack, or melt. Extreme cold causes parts to contract and become brittle and stiff. A vehicle kept in a heated garage will outlast a vehicle parked under a foot of snow.

Driving styles. Ideally, if you baby your car it will outlast one that is pushed to its limits. Your car was built to be driven, so drive it, but do not punch it out, push it through hard turns, jam on the brakes to stop, and then expect it to last forever. A car purchased from the little old lady from Pasadena will surely be in better shape than a car purchased from Speed Racer.

Functionality. Compare a three-year-old car driven by a salesman on long trips to the same three-year-old car driven for a car service. There is no comparison. The salesman’s car will be in much better shape across the board.

Environment. Do you live near the coast? Salty air penetrates into every space of your vehicle and in due time will corrode exposed surfaces. Salt that is spread on the roadways during the winter will eat away at exposed surfaces and imbed in nooks and crannies, where it will become like a cancerous tumor.

Lifestyles. If you are always in a rush, chances are you will not warm up your car on a cold day, you will accelerate harder to get where you are going, and you will brake harder to stop when you get there – not to mention the risk of crashing.

Over-revving. Driving at high speeds, shifting at the red line (manual transmissions), or forcing your car out of a snowbound parking spot puts added stress on your engine and transmission. Take it down a notch …

Poor maintenance. Ignoring the maintenance requirements of your vehicle will eventually take its toll and can affect other parts of the car. Ignoring sounds and odors can be a big mistake, as these can be signs of a serious problem.

Faulty repairs. Every time you have a repair performed on your car it is with the intention of correcting or avoiding a mechanical problem. If the repair is not done properly, your vehicle’s integrity is compromised. If the repair was made on your power sunroof, well, maybe you will get rained on if it will not close. But if the shabby repair was made on your brake hose, that could be another story …

Kids. Food, drinks, cigarettes, sharp objects, using the passenger compartment to carry things other than passengers – all can lead to the destruction of your beautiful car.

Exterior aesthetics. Protecting your vehicle’s finish from the elements by washing and waxing it periodically will help it last much longer.

Remember that two identical cars that roll off the assembly line one after the other could be found years later, one in great shape while the other is ready for the scrap heap. It was not that the cars were built any differently from each other. It was because of the care and maintenance – or lack thereof – that the vehicles’ owners gave to their cars over the years.

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