Driving isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B; it’s also about knowing you’re safe while you get there and enjoying the drive along the way. You want to be confident that your car is performing at its peak, both to keep you safe and to make the ride pleasant.
1. Remember that tires matter.
Good tires grip the road, hug the curves, and handle slick surfaces. But even good tires, out of alignment, will make steering a chore when it should be easy. When you have to fight the steering wheel to keep your car straight, something is off; it may well be that your tires need to be rotated and aligned.
If your tires are old and worn, if you find your car slipping on turns, then it may be time to replace the tires. You’ll see immediate improved performance in steering and handling when you’re driving on good tires in proper alignment.
2. Keep up with basic maintenance items.
We’re talking oil changes, topping off the antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid, and having a regular inspection done so you know things are working the way they should be.
Prevent big problems from happening and you’ll not only save money in the long term, you’ll also drive with confidence knowing that your car has been taken care of by a professional.
3. Use the right fuel and the right oil in the right amount.
Check your car owner’s manual to be sure you know about fuel requirements; if your engine needs premium gasoline and you fill it up with regular, you can cause engine problems later and you’ll definitely affect your car’s performance negatively. If you do oil changes yourself, be sure you’re using the right type of oil for your engine and don’t overfill it, which can cause the engine to smoke.
4. Consider the weather.
Remember that in the winter, with cold temperatures, the engine needs time to warm up. Start your car in the driveway, or in the garage with the door open, a few minutes before you need to leave. That allows time to let the oil get warmed up and flowing where it should. You’ll also get warmer seats and nice hot air blowing out your heater.
Summer requires a different kind of care: car engines can overheat in high temperatures and will also go through fluids faster due to evaporation. Watch your engine temperature gauge, and if it’s going up over the halfway mark, pull over and let your car cool off for a while. Be sure to have your fluids refilled regularly.
5. Get a regular tune-up.
It’s easy to get an oil change every three months and think you’ve covered all the bases, but there is a lot more to a car than oil. Engine parts experience wear and tear all the time, and a tune-up by a professional mechanic will ensure that the worn parts are replaced and everything is tuned to peak performance.
You’ll also be preventing larger problems from occurring later by taking care of worn parts before they break completely.
The last – and most important – part of better car performance is driver performance. Have fun and enjoy your car, but use common sense, be safe, and follow the rules of the road while you drive.