5 ways you could be damaging your car without even knowing it

Houston – From work to school to home, it is almost impossible to get around our sprawling city without a vehicle. We rely on them heavily, so we want our car to last as long as possible.

However, Tony Zapoli, owner of Advanced Auto Tech, says there are five things some of us do that could be causing major damage to our vehicle.

  • Not taking your car in for routine maintenance and regular oil changes.
    • When you skip check-ups, you are missing the opportunity for technicians to give your vehicle a once-over and find problems before you need costly repairs. When customers bring their vehicle in for an oil change, Zapoli says his technicians check everything on the car. “We look the whole car over,” he said. “Check the tire pressure, top off all their fluids. And if there’s something that could be dangerous, wearing out or could cause an accident, we need to point it out to the customer.” Going too many miles past the mileage at which the car manufacturer says you need an oil change can destroy your engine.
  • Running on Empty
    • If you routinely run your car on fumes well after your gas light comes on, you could destroy your fuel pump. The pump needs to stay submerged in the fuel or it can overheat. Replacing your fuel pump can cost about $700 to $800.
  • Topping off your tank
    • Maybe you’re trying to get every last bit of gas into your tank to give yourself more time between fill-ups, but forcing the pump after it automatically clicks off is not good for your car. Zapoli said you need air space or expansion room in your gas tank. The fuel in the ground is cool. When it goes in your tank, it heats up and expands. When there is no room for the gas to expand because you have topped it off, it can leak through your evaporative system, wasting gas and damaging your charcoal filter.
  • Hitting potholes
    • These are nearly impossible to avoid in Houston, but Zapoli said if you can’t avoid them, at least slow down. Potholes are problematic for the suspension and tires on cars. If you don’t pop a tire, you will cause premature wear on bushings and ball joints.
  • Not using the severe weather maintenance schedule for your vehicle
    • Houston’s extreme heat and traffic congestion means your car needs oil changes and maintenance about twice as often as recommended in your owner’s manual. If your owner’s manual shows you should get your oil changed every 10,000 miles, Zapoli said you should take it in every 5,000 miles.