Other than distracted driving which includes (but not limited to) texting, talking, smoking and driving while impaired/tired there are many mindless habits we do in our cars.
We are all guilty of them, some more dangerous than others. Some habits shorten the life of your vehicle some diminish the value or aesthetic appeal. Let’s face it your vehicle takes a beating already from the sun, the road, the rain, salt, snow, ice and other driver’s. Not to mention the occasional passer-by who scrapes your car with their purse or box they are carrying too close to your mirror or car door. Trees, acid rain, the paint truck driving in front of you and freshly repaired patches with tar in the road are not friends either. How about those bugs? They love your car! Unfortunately a little too much as they can permanently damage your car’s exterior. Let’s not cause additional damage to our vehicles by inducing harm to them ourselves. I would like to take you on a journey through a multi-blog series talking about mindless habits that we all can avoid to maintain the pristine condition of our vehicles.
Some things to think about the next time you get into or park your four wheeled friend:
Give Me a Door Ding, Please
Parking next to that old beater with dents all over it, filthy dirty is probably an indication that the owner/driver not only doesn’t care about their own car, but they certainly do not care about yours! Avoid this common mistake and park away from them! Tight spot? Don’t do it! Find another parking spot with more room. Typically doors need at least 36″ to open and get a body out of the door. If your door has large mirrors (truck, van, suv) or a large armrest inside, it may require more room to swing the door open or to get yourself out of the car. Park closer to the car on the left of you, because you can control your door and more than likely the car to the left of you will have only one door opening (the driver) not someone entering/exiting on the passenger’s side. If you can, find a spot that is adjacent to a handicapped parking spot or at the end or close to a curb/median or natural divider in the parking lot. Avoid parking next to large trucks, suvs and vans as many times their large mirrors and easily ding your vehicle when they open the door. Sound too OCD and anal? Just a door ding? They add up! I recently paid $250 wholesale cost to my paintless dent repair expert to take out five dings on a car. The deeper the ding, the more expensive. If a ding has a crease in it or has cracked the paint, chances are you will have to paint your car, which is almost certain to have a negative effect on the value of your vehicle. Taking small precautions in the parking lot can have a big payoff.
Do you find yourself “plopping” into your cars seats? Or do you shuffle or slide into the seat right to left? If you do, chances are you are scuffing up what’s called the driver’s seat bolster area. This is the far left part of your driver’s seat and is the most common damage to any leather interior. Simple fix for this: Get into your vehicle more carefully and slowly. Place your right leg first into the vehicle over the left side of the seat, not touching it. When your right leg is all the way in, you should be able to enter your left left right on top of the seat rather than sliding or plopping down, eliminating the chance of scuffing that seat. If you wear studded jeans or pants or consistently wear belts you may also be doing harm to your bolster. Sound too complicated? Then move your seat back more and allow more room to get in. On luxury cars you have settings like 1, 2 and 3 on the side of the door or seat. Program 1 for your driving settings and 2 for your loved one and perhaps 3 would be for entering the car…slide it all the way back to allow for maximum room to get in and over that seat bolster. Most seat repairs cost $250-$300 at dealerships to redye or touch up the seats. With just a little more careful entrance to your vehicle you can avoid unsightly seat wear and unnecessary costs to your vehicles maintenance. While we are talking about seats, if you have a light tan or gray leather seat, remember leather is porous. If you wear a dark dye pair of your favorite True Religion or Seven Jeans or a fresh black leather jacket, chances are you may be bleeding that dye onto your porous light leather! Remove it by spraying a little Simple Green sparingly on the leather reduced by 50% with water and a horsehair brush or soft brush. If you let is sit too long, the leather may be permanently dyed with those favorite jeans or jacket color!
Windshields typically cost $600-$1k to replace. From rock chips to salt to stars they can take a beating. Why add to that? Letting your windshield wipers get too low or tear and operating them with the metal scraping against your glass is a sure way to ruin your windshield. Wipers cost $5.00 at Wal-Mart each–why take that chance? Additionally using something OTHER than a windshield ice scraper like credit card or something else to scrape that ice or frost or snow off your car can be dangerous. Lastly use Rain-X, Invisible Glass as cleaners and buff/wax your windshield a couple times a year when you wax the rest of your car to keep that windshield free of bugs, tar and other contaminants. Have a kitty cat or lap dog that loves to ride in the car? Don’t let them climb on your car or get in your lap close to the windshield! Cat or dog claw marks can really scratch up a windshield! If you happen to scratch your windshield badly with any of the aforementioned culprits try buffing them out with wax or rubbing compound. For serious scratches professional detailers can take it out with an orbital buffer and believe it or not whitening toothpaste with baking soda in it! Leave that one to the pros if you have never tried it.
Stay tuned for our next series of bad habits: Tire Thriftiness, Sunscreen, Salt and Pepper, Heel Hole, Parasitic Drains, Remotion Commotion, Sticky Situations, Toxic Towels and Abrasive Cleaners