Buying a car is one of the biggest investments we will make in our lifetime. Some of us will even purchase more than one. So it's best we know and understand that our own bad habits frequently become our car's worst enemy. How many of these are you guilty of?


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Ignoring the parking brake. Even when you're parked on a level surface, there is still a benefit to using your parking brake. Neglecting to use it puts the entire weight of your vehicle on a little piece of metal in the transmission called the parking pawl. It's roughly the size of a finger, so naturally it can wear out or break over time. Using the parking brake evens the weight load, helping those delicate transmission components last longer.


Keeping the gas tank low. Many vehicle's fuel pumps keep cool by staying submerged in the fuel of the tank. So by regularly running at a quarter-tank or less, you're risking a fuel pump replacement prematurely. Paying a little more at the gas station isn't always fun, but if you can afford it, it could literally save you hundreds in the future.


Shifting from R to D without a complete stop. We're all guilty of this one. Instead of taking two extra seconds to come to a complete stop before switching gears, we shift from reverse to drive in one sweeping motion, right? Making a clear differentiation between reverse and drive could dramatically save your drivetrain, transmission, and axle in the future.


Revving before the engine is warm. Your car will substantially benefit from one-two minutes of idle time after you've started the engine. This allows for the engine oil to distribute itself and heat up to suitable temperatures before you begin your commute. Failure to do so can cause stress between the engine's tight-fitting components.


Using the gear shift as a hand rest. This is primarily for manual transmission drivers. We know how great it feels to switch gears as you tear up some asphalt, but leaving your hand on the shifter creates strain on the transmission's bushings and synchronizers, leading to premature wear. We know it feels natural to rest it there, but it's best to keep both hands on the wheel!


Carrying too much weight. You've probably heard this one before: the more a car weighs, the more stress is put on its drivetrain, suspension, and brakes. Not to mention more fuel is consumed as well. Decluttering your trunk and relieving it of a few pounds may give you a few extra miles on a tank of gas and can make a difference in the longevity of your car's parts, also.


Riding the brakes downhill. Braking while traveling downhill can lead to build-up on the brake pads and rotors, causing wear and increasing the risk of overheating or warping. If you need to use the brakes to lower your speed, try shifting into a lower gear. The natural decompression that occurs in the drivetrain will help keep your car at a safe speed.


So did you learn something new? Or did we just point out all of your flaws? :) By implementing simple lifestyle changes while driving your car, you can add years back to its life and prevent yourself from paying for major repairs. Of course, at MINI of San Antonio, we are always here to extend the life of your vehicle by performing routine maintenance checks. If you are experiencing any problems with your vehicle, we'd love for you to stop by so our experienced technicians can take a look! Our Service Department hours can be found here and you can submit a service appointment form here.