When you hear the term “severe driving”, what do you think of it? A sedan making its way up a steep incline? The constant slamming of your breaks? Or just sitting in traffic? Maybe to your surprise, these are actually all considered to be severe driving habits for your vehicle.
Drivers more often than not, misinterpret the amount of stress they are putting on their vehicles. It is important to understand how certain driving habits can affect your vehicle and learn what your manufacturer defines severe driving as, it can be different based on the car’s model and year. As a driver, it is best, to be honest with yourself and your technician about how the vehicle has been driven which could lead to bigger issues down the road if not addressed. Below, we have compiled a list of common severe driving habits the normal vehicle owner can relate to. If more of these habits apply to your driving, do not worry you are not alone. Most driving is considered to be severe.
Idling is not an efficient way of warming up your vehicle, even on winter days, and can waste your car’s gasoline and motor oil. It is a myth that idling on winter days is good for your engine. An engine that is idling is not running at its optimal operating temperature, and the result is wasted fuel. Idling your vehicle wastes fuel and takes away oil from your engine’s pistons, which is a vital component to your engine running properly. The longer your vehicle idles, the more motor oil will be burnt up in the process and cost you more money in the long run because of the extra maintenance costs.
Not only is idling bad for your engine and a waste of gas but environmental concerns are surrounding it as well. According to the U.S Department of Energy, about 30 million tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere just from personal vehicles idling. Vehicle idling is not practical for your engine and negatively affects your surrounding environment.
Driving long distances is not necessarily bad for your car unless you are not up to date on your vehicle’s services. Before any long-distance road trip, you or a technician should do a maintenance check on your vehicle to check the tires, engine fluids, oil, and coolant levels. Do not ignore warning lights, odd smells, or noises while on the road to prevent any damage. On the other hand, short-distance drives are generally worse for your vehicle. Since short trips have frequent breaks, accelerations, and slow speeds, there is more of a chance for your engine to never reach its ideal operating temperature, which is when the engine cannot reach the ideal viscosity to lubricate the essential parts. Short trips are considered to be anything under 10 miles.
• Driving in extreme heat or cold temperatures. Heat can cause issues to your vehicle’s battery as the temperatures increase because the water in the battery will evaporate faster and leave vital components exposed.
• Frequent cold start-ups and shutdowns. Low temperatures can cause your vehicle to produce less of a current which makes it harder for your car’s engine to turn over when it is started.
• Driving in areas with excessive dust clouds and winds. Dust can clog your vehicle’s air filter and can also reduce the airflow to the engine, eventually driving down the effectiveness of your engine’s oil.
• Driving on roads with dirty pavement is also a very common type of severe driving situation (dusty, muddy, melted snow, etc.). This is mainly an issue in areas with common dust clouds and dry air.
• Traveling up a steep hill or on the side of a mountain.
It is pretty clear why a heavily loaded vehicle would put a strain on its engine. With the extra pounds weighing down the back of the vehicle, it’s tough for the motor to work at its most efficient rate. General examples of this would be towing a camper, trailer, or loading items on top of the roof rack.
For some of you, these might hit a little too close to home! That is because severe driving is what most people consider normal driving. If any of these relate to your driving habits, you are certainly not alone. Normal driving is much more severe to your engine and internal components than most passengers assume. Preventative maintenance of your vehicle is the best way to ensure durability within your engine. Owners should be cautious of their vehicle’s maintenance requirements because the sooner you catch an issue, the cheaper the process will be for you. The more a driver knows, the better prepared they will be when the time comes!