· Do not race your car's engine during start-up.
· Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive- the most wear to the engine and drive train occurs in the first 10 to 20 minutes of operation.
· Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights.
· Avoid driving at high speeds and accelerating quickly, especially when it's very hot or very cold outside.
· When turning your steering wheel, don't hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds- doing so can damage the power-steering pump.
Ask whether the gas you buy is filtered at the pump and if the station has a policy about changing the pump filters regularly. Some stations don't have pump filters, making you more vulnerable to dirty gasoline. Other stations may not mix alcohol and fuel properly—or worse, water down their product. Find a station you trust and stick to it.
Is your key chain weighted down with multiple items? If so, the weight, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure.
If you are not going to use your car for more than a month, store it properly to prevent unnecessary damage and repairs upon your return.
· Fill your gas tank to help prevent condensation from accumulating. Add a fuel stabilizer and drive the car around a bit to distribute the additive to engine parts.
· Wash and wax the car thoroughly to protect the finish.
· Place a vapor barrier on your garage floor. A 4-mil polyethylene drop cloth will do.
· Disengage the parking brake to help avoid brake corrosion.
· Put the car on jack stands to take the weight of the vehicle off the wheels and tires.
· Disconnect and remove the battery to keep it from draining.
· Plug the tailpipe with a rag to prevent moist air from infiltrating into it.
The Arizona sun can do some heavy damage on your car. If possible, park in a shaded area. If no shade is available or if you find parking under a tree results in bird droppings, use a car shade to minimize the sun's impact.
Have more car maintenance secrets that we didn’t cover? We would love to know them- drop your tips in the comments below!