As we look more and more towards ways to live sustainably, you may be wondering how to reduce your consumption of car parts and make your vehicle last longer. Thankfully, there are plenty of tips, tricks, and healthy habits you can adopt to extend the life of your car and reduce your motoring consumption.

Treating our cars with care and consideration can not only keep them working for longer, but it can also save money on otherwise avoidable repairs. So, here are our tips for keeping your car and its parts working soundly for as long as possible:

Drive sensibly

Caring for your car often starts behind the wheel; the way we drive can impact the health of our cars more than we realise, so it’s worthwhile thinking about your driving habits if you want to keep your parts at their best.

Accelerating, changing gears, and braking smoothly can help to keep components working for longer, as well as saving you money in fuel. Route planning is also important – try to avoid potholes and poor-quality roads for the sake of your suspension and tyres.

Use your air con

It’s common for our air con systems to go unused in the winter months, and you may think that only using it once in a while would reduce the wear and tear. In fact, regularly running the AC for ten minutes every week could help to prolong the life of its components.

Switching the air con on every now and again allows the coolant to move around the system, which keeps the seals lubricated and makes them less likely to crack. It’ll also keep moving parts functioning freely and smoothly.

Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of removing condensation from your windscreen and windows on cold mornings, and the peace of mind that the system is functional when you do need it again in the summer.

Charge your battery regularly

You may think that you only need to recharge your battery when it falls completely flat, but regularly topping up the charge can actually extend the life of your battery, protecting it from future wear and tear and even reversing existing signs of damage.

A smart charger can be left plugged-in without the risk of overcharging your battery and will switch to a long-term maintenance mode when it’s fully charged. This setting keeps your battery cells healthy and works to mend any pre-existing wear and tear for a longer-lasting, more sustainable battery.

Regular charging is especially important if you only use your car for short trips – longer journeys give the alternator a chance to recharge the battery after starting the engine, so only driving short distances can gradually deplete your charge.

Fuel up when you need to

When you run low on petrol, your fuel pump can draw sediment, and debris sitting at the bottom of your tank. These contaminates can clog up your pump and filters and damage them over time, meaning you’ll have to replace them sooner than you’d like.

Making sure that there’s always enough petrol or diesel in your tank for the pump to draw on can make your filters and pumps last longer – as well as reducing your chance of running out of fuel mid-journey.

If you don’t use your car very often, however, it can actually be less economical to have a full tank of fuel, as you’re adding unnecessary weight to your car. So, maintaining around a third of a tank would be advisable for low mileage drivers.

Engage the clutch when you start the car

Many modern cars won’t allow you to start the engine unless the clutch pedal is down, but it’s a good habit to get into for any car.

Engaging the clutch when you start your car reduces the load on your starter motor, as it isn’t having to turn the input shaft of the gearbox as well as the engine. Since the starter motor is powered by the battery, you’ll be reducing the strain on that too.

The extra stress is quite small, but over the hundreds of times you start your engine, these small changes can add up to a longer-lasting starter motor and healthier battery.

Avoid engine braking

Instead of using the brakes, many drivers will release the accelerator and switch down the gears to reduce their speed - this is also known as engine braking. Although it’s often done to reduce damage to the brake pads, it can actually result in additional strain to your drivetrain.

Sticking to the brakes instead of shifting gear can help to avoid unnecessary abrasion to the clutch and transmission, keeping your drivetrain in good health for longer.

Don’t overload your car

The more weight you have in your car, the more pressure you put onto its components, so a lightly packed car will put less strain on the suspension, brakes, and tyres to help avoid any premature wear.

The safest and most sustainable way to load your car is to distribute any weight evenly and consult the gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, for your make and model. This is the maximum weight that your car can carry as specified by the manufacturer, and you can find it by looking at your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate which is typically located on the inside of the driver’s door, the boot, or under the bonnet.

Don’t rest on your clutch and gear stick

Although it may be a comfortable position, leaving your foot on the clutch pedal and your hand on the gearstick when you’re not using them can cause unnecessary wear.

Removing your foot from the clutch pedal when you aren’t using it helps to reduce friction between the inner components such as the clutch plate and bearings, minimising wear and extending their lifespan. Plus, it can also improve your fuel economy.

As for the gear stick, taking your hand away eliminates the possibility of accidentally applying pressure that pushes the selector fork against the moving parts of your gearbox. That way, these components only touch when you’re actually changing gear, meaning there’ll be less friction and they should last longer.

Combining these tips and practices should help you to keep motoring more sustainably and extend the lifespan of your car. If you need any motoring advice or services, then pop into one of our stores where our colleagues will be happy to help.

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