The cost of a vehicle owned is not only what you assume with the purchase, but also the maintenance. But, although it may not seem like it, we can also lose money with certain behaviors behind the wheel.
Owning a car can be very expensive, because not only do you have to face the initial investment, but you must make a good maintenance so that it lasts a long time in optimal conditions.
It does not matter if you have bought a Dacia Sandero, a Volkswagen Golf or a Tesla Model X, the outlay necessary to acquire it is considerable and, once you have it, you have many years ahead of maintenance operations and, perhaps, repairs.
In this last section, our way of driving And many of the habits we have at the wheel have a decisive influence on the useful life of car components, but also on our pocketbook. The truth is that many drivers have hobbies that, although we are not aware of it, cost us money. We are going to talk about all this to learn how to save without the need for additional outlays.
1. Require the car cold
This is one of the most damaging habits for the mechanics of a vehicle and, unfortunately for its long-suffering cars, it is also one of the most common among drivers.
And is that one of the best things you can do for your car is to use it with great tact and smoothness while the engine is cold, avoiding above all brisk accelerations and shifting gears sooner than usual. This, for obvious reasons, is even more important in winter, when minimum temperatures can be negative.
Keep in mind that the optimum operating temperature for a conventional engine is around 80/90 ºC. As long as it reaches this value, the oil does not lubricate as it should, having not reached the viscosity index necessary for it. This will cause the moving parts to suffer more friction and wear.
If you are patient and wait until the engine has reached at least 60 degrees, you will be extending the life of the components of the drive much more than you think. And that’s money you save.
2. Hurry up the reservation
Another of the habits of many drivers and that can be quite expensive, since it can damage the fuel pump, the lines and even the injectors.
This is because liquid fuels contain solid sediments that end up being stored in the bottom of the tank. If you get used to rushing the reservation, in addition to risking one day running out of fuel (something that can also cause an extra cost), you will be introducing said sediment into the fuel pump and the rest of the fuel circuit.
It is true that sometimes it is inevitable to rush the reservation because we have miscalculated or for any other reason. Nothing happens if it is punctual, but in the case of doing it regularly, we will end up paying a costly breakdown.
3. Do not turn off the air conditioning before stopping the engine
We are going with a custom that is also very widespread, such as keeping the air conditioning permanently on in summer. The simple fact of not turning it off before stopping the engine will cause the system to stop abruptly, suffering more than necessary and seeing their integrity compromised.
As in the previous case, it is not something that is going to generate a breakdown if you do it only once in a while, but if you have that habit you could find a fault in the air conditioning. It is best to press the stop button and then stop the engine.
4. Don’t wait for the turbo to cool down
This problem is similar to the one we have mentioned for air conditioning, but relative to engines that include a turbocharger.
In this case it is due to the turbine of the same (you can know more about what a turbo is and how it works, here) rotates at tens of thousands of revolutions per minute, which is why it acquires a very high temperature during its operation, especially on long stretches at high speed with sustained acceleration.
As long as you have a turbocharged car, you should keep the car engine idling for 30 seconds or one minute before turning it off, thus allowing the turbine to stop spinning and lower the temperature. Otherwise you will strain the components, including the turbine shaft, risking costly breakdown down the road.
5. Driving with low tire pressure
This error is very common, as we tend to think that once we inflate the tires, they maintain their pressure permanently. Nothing could be further from the truth, because changes in temperature, potholes and general use of the car cause the pressure to gradually decrease.
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The ideal is check tire pressure once a month. Otherwise, you will end up driving with less than you should, increasing the tread surface of the tire and consuming more.
It is not something that you will notice only in the fuel consumption, but the tire will start to wear more on the sides of the tread, forcing you to change them ahead of time or even preventing you from passing the ITV when it touches you.
6. Drive with the windows down
This custom is inevitable in cars that do not have air conditioning, because as soon as hot days arrive, the temperature of the passenger compartment rises rapidly when the car is irradiated by the sun.
But, if you have air conditioning, it is best that you use it. Yes, it is true that the air conditioning subtracts some power from the engine and that will cause it to consume something more, but the friction generated by the open windows increases fuel consumption even more.
In urban environments this is not very relevant, but on expressways or highways consumption can skyrocket if we drive with the windows open. To this must be added, in addition, that insects can enter the cabin or that, in the event of an accident, you will be less protected.
7. Abusing the deadlock in motion
Many drivers think that driving in neutral saves fuel, as the engine idles while the car continues to cover distance. In reality it is not like that, because when the engine turns at idle it must do so with its own effort and without any help from the movement of the crankshaft, which in turn is driven by the rotation of the wheels.
If when descending a slope we leave a gear engaged and release the accelerator, the consumption will be equal to zero
If we go down a slope or approach a red light, it is best to leave a gear in gear and release the accelerator. In this way, the consumption will be equivalent to zero, since all the effort will be made by the vehicle’s own kinetic energy (the same that the regenerative brake uses to obtain electrical energy).
If, on the other hand, we do it in neutral, in addition to losing some control over the vehicle, we will force the engine to consume some fuel, about 0.3 or 0.4 liters per 100 km.
Other practices that cost us money in the car
Although we have highlighted seven, there are other customs that can make using the car more expensive than it should.
One of the most important is driving in the wrong gear, both by excess and by default. The engines have an optimal range of revolutions in which they achieve an ideal compromise between performance and consumption. If you go overboard, that is, if you take it too high for laps, it will consume more and wear out early.
But if you drive with the engine too low in laps, for example in fourth gear for a section of maximum speed of 50 km / h, it will not have enough power to respond adequately when asked to do so when leaving a roundabout or in any other circumstance. , and you will have to overexert yourself to compensate. It is in these situations that we notice that the car is shaking and seems to be drowning. It’s the engine calling for help and a lower gear!
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In general, in a diesel car you must change gear from 2200/2500 rpm, while in a gasoline one the ideal will be to wait until 3200/3500 rpm. In this way, the car will be happy and relaxed, compensating in the long run with better reliability for the small difference in consumption that you can gain by changing to fewer laps.
Hold down the clutch while stopped It is another of those customs that are not advisable. When you stop at a traffic light or intersection, it is best to put the neutral position and release the clutch, otherwise you will be wearing the mechanism prematurely. The same is true when you rest your foot on the clutch pedal, as that slight pressure wears out the disc and thrust bearing. Related to this, we advise you to read this article, in which we explain the drawbacks of the system Start & stop.
Beyond all these aspects that we have discussed, we cannot finish this article without stressing that not respecting maintenance periods And replacing parts such as filters, oil, brake pads or coolant is counterproductive and the savings you think you are making will end up coming back against you in the form of costly breakdown.
So good, sensible driving!