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Rob Griffin

Five stupidly simple ways to kill your car


We explain how to give your motor the tender loving care it needs for you to enjoy a long-lasting relationship.

How to kill your car

Destroying your car is not as difficult as you might imagine – and it doesn't always involve driving too fast. 

You can actually cause major damage to your beloved machine by simply not lavishing it with enough love and attention.

Andy Smith, AA Patrol of the Year, has seen virtually every mistake made by drivers but insists it is possible to escape hefty repair bills. 

"Cars will always break down but there are plenty of problems that we regularly encounter which could have easily been avoided," he says. 

Monitor your car's oil levels

Oil is the lifeblood of any engine. 

If you let it run dry then the various parts will be starved of the lubrication they need and serious damage will follow. 

Similarly, putting in too much oil can also cause major problems.

Fill it up too much and you run the risk of oil being pushed into places it has no right being or the engine becoming totally solid.

If this is the case, provided the engine hasn't been turned over and damage already caused, the only solution is for your motor to be towed to a garage where the oil can be drained out. 

Check your oil levels regularly as if you wait until the dashboard warning light comes on then it might already be too late.

Water and electrics don't mix 

If you leave your window or sunroof open in a downpour and water seeps into the various dials and switches you could be storing yourself up major problems for the future.

This can be the case even if it initially seems to have dried out okay.

You must also avoid flooded roads as driving into deep water can result in water being sucked into the air intake and going straight into the piston chamber. 

Within seconds so much damage can be caused that you'll need a new engine.

Jack your car with care

How to kill your car - 2

It may seem like a simple task but if you jack the car up on anything other than the point recommended you could end up easily denting the sill.

Also, make sure you are on solid ground and not soft earth or gravel, as the jack could collapse and damage your car as it hits the ground.

"I was called out to a man with a brand new Fiat 500 who had put the jack in the wrong place and ended up with a nice big dent in the sill," says the AA's Smith. 

"You also need to be careful when bumping up kerbs as many local councils use sharp edged kerb stones which can easily burst your tyres."

Be careful when jump starting your car

Never jump start a car without reading the manufacturer's specified procedure for it as this can land you with a hefty repair bill. 

Many modern cars have sensitive control boxes and the sudden surge of power can do serious harm.

Similarly, some cars can have their immobiliser systems damaged if the key is in the ignition at the time. 

If this happens it will wipe the key, rendering it useless and meaning you'll be unable to drive until it has been taken to a dealer and re-programmed.

Cold weather can damage your car

Pouring a kettle of hot water on a frozen windscreen may seem like a quick fix but it can also cause it to crack – landing you with a hefty bill. 

The simplest way to avoid this is to get your heaters going inside the car and spray the outside with de-icer.

Linked to this is the problem of windscreen wipers packing up. 

The chances are that you've tried to operate them while they're still frozen to the screen. 

As the motor that drives them will be pushing hard it can result in the fuse being blown. Not costly, but certainly annoying.


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