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Car Care Tip: Gridlock Driving

No matter how hard you might try to avoid the city and stop-and-go traffic, there are some instances where it can sneak up on you or become unavoidable due to roadway construction. Not only does stop-and-go driving wear on your nerves, but it wears on the overall operation of your vehicle as well. Sun Devil Auto is here to offer some insight on just how much damage gridlock traffic can do to your vehicle and the importance of giving us the pleasure of taking care of your vehicle so you can get as many miles out of it as possible.

The Impact of Gridlock Traffic

Cars on highway in traffic jamWhile you’re idling in traffic rather than flowing down the road like you’d prefer, your engine doesn’t have the optimum conditions it needs to flush out acidic combustion products and burned fuel. When this happens, those leftover products can block your fuel injectors, keeping fuel from properly flowing into the combustion chamber. Over time, these deposits can start to build up and damage your car’s engine, which may eventually lead to unnecessary repair bills if left untreated. Besides engine performance, bumper-to-bumper traffic overworks your battery and alternator system and reduces the performance of your cooling system.

You can also expect your brakes to take a hit when you frequently stop and accelerate in rush-hour traffic. The fact that your brakes are constantly working to control the crawling speed of your car means they wear down faster than normal. You might start to hear a grating or grinding sound over time, or your brakes might pull more to one side than they do another. If either happens, it’s best you bring your car into Sun Devil Auto for our technicians to inspect. Even if your brakes seem to be functioning normally, we recommend you have your brake fluid checked every time you have your oil changed. If you simply cannot avoid gridlock traffic, you’re better off using a brake fluid formulated for such conditions.

Maintaining Your Automobile

If you find you simply cannot sidestep bumper-to-bumper traffic, you’ll want to take extra steps to learn how to maintain a car that you often drive in high traffic. This means keeping up on your oil changes and making sure you tell your mechanic you commonly drive in gridlock traffic so you have a better idea of how often you should have your oil changed. You might also want to check your owner’s manual to see if it offers recommendations for when to change your oil when driving under severe conditions.

In addition to frequent oil changes, you should add a synthetic formula fuel injector to your gas tank every 5,000 miles. Doing so flushes out harmful engine deposits, decreases the chances of knocking sounds in your engine and better prevents harmful clogs.

You’ll also want to take the overall age of your vehicle into consideration when determining the best way to care for it under gridlock traffic conditions. For instance, you might need to look into replacing your coolant filter pressure cap if your vehicle is at least eight years old. The reason for looking into getting a new pressure cap is that you want to make sure you have the right amount of pressure so your engine can keep cool.

Additional Steps To Take

Now that you have a better idea of the damage bumper-to-bumper traffic can do to your car’s overall performance and how you can better maintain your vehicle under such driving conditions, we’d like to share a few additional car maintenance checklist tips you can put to good use when you run into unavoidable gridlock. One of the best things you can do is reduce your speed in traffic, which makes sense if you won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. We also recommend you increase the distance between you and the car in front of you so you don’t have to stress your brakes as much. This is also a good way to prevent accidents, which can lead to avoidable spending and more than a little frustration.

No matter if you drive in frequent rush-hour traffic or steady driving conditions, it’s best to have a professional maintain your vehicle. Come on down to Sun Devil Auto and allow our technicians to help bring out the best in your car without bringing out everything in your wallet.