We often take our cars for granted. We use them on a daily basis and usually, with little complaint, they take us to places we need to go.

However, not showing some appreciation can be a very costly mistake! The best way to show your car just how much you care about it is to adhere to following pieces of advice:

1. Always use the parking brake

How many times a year do you use the parking brake? Probably only when you are on a very steep hill. However, did you know you should be using the brake every time you park and turn off the car? Most people don’t and that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the transmission.

A car stays in park by a device in the transmission called a parking pawl, which can snap. The parking brake not only ensures your car stays in one spot, but also prevents the pawl from stripping when the car is in park.

2. Don’t reverse until your car is fully stopped

Assuming your driving your car forward, you want to make sure the car comes to a full stop before backing up. If you don’t, you risk stripping the gears and bands in the transmission.

What happens when you do this? Not good things! The gears will no longer have teeth and the bands will be too worn to apply tension. Suddenly your once-gorgeous ride will just be a hunk of shiny metal.

3. Not changing the oil

Let’s face it: Most of us don’t get our oil changed at the right time. Maybe we forget because we’re busy. Or, there’s always the chance we couldn’t read the oil reminder sticker because the mechanic’s writing had faded. Whatever the excuses, stop using them!

Not changing your oil can result in reduced performance and engine life of your vehicle. With no oil, the engine will also breakdown because metal pieces will grind together and wear out.

4. Leaving the air conditioning on when you start the car

San Diego’s weather can get hot. That much is obvious. But what isn’t so obvious is how starting your car the wrong way in the heat can hurt its performance.

Most of us turn the car on with the A.C. blasting. This can be a problem for two reasons. The A.C. is connected to the car’s serpentine belt, so the car has to work extra hard when the A.C. is switched on at the same time you turn on the ignition.

Keeping the A.C. on while starting the car is also hazardous to our health. If we leave our cars in the hot San Diego sun too long, benzene levels can rise, often exceeding the permitted level. Right before the A.C. begins to cool the air, it actually ejects all of that hot air filled with benzene into our vehicle. To prevent this, roll down those windows and stay out of the car until the air clears.

Another great way to show your car just how much you care is to take it down to Soapy Joe’s for an inspection. While there, you can get a general under-hood and under-vehicle inspection. We’ll top off your car with vital fluids, inspect air filters, belts, hoses, brakes, and tires.

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