We all know cars in Singapore are expensive. Heck, we even did a video about this.
With a monthly expense that’s more than a person’s salary, it’s no surprise that most people would want their car to require as little maintenance as possible, but that’s like wanting a wife to spend less on bags: it’s unpredictable.
But there are actually ways to at least lengthen the lifespan of your transmission, and that translates to thousands of dollars of savings.
If you’re fortunate to own a car in Singapore, here are eight things you should avoid doing to keep your auto car happy.
Rev-ing the engine in Neutral before changing to Drive
There are only two reasons you’ll do it: firstly the legit one and the crazy one.
Some people rev the engine to “warm up” the car upon startup, letting the oil circulate faster. Well, unless you’re driving an old car, which you’re most likely not because COE expires in 10 years for Singapore cars, you actually don’t need to do that: new cars don’t need to be warmed up before driving.
In fact, doing that might cause unnecessary strain on your engine: instead, just drive slow and easy in the first five minutes if you feel the car being jerky or powerless.
Now, let’s move on to the crazy one: the siao-on fellow who did it when he’s waiting at a traffic light, hinting others for a race. If you’re that siao-on fellow, then please just surrender your licence and go drink some milk. You don’t deserve to be on the road.
Going to Neutral and letting gravity pull you down when you’re at a slope
Think you’re saving fuel? Well, think again.
New cars would have a feature that cut off the supply of fuel when you’re moving down a slope, so what you’ve done is redundant.
And it’s not just redundant: you’re going to cause strain on your brakes. You see, you need to brake harder when there’s no “engine brake” to slow you down, so be prepared to change your brake pads more often if you have this bad habit.
But here’s the more important part: the engine brake actually helps to prevent an accident. Imagine losing a lapse of concentration: your car will barrel down.
If you have engine brake on, it’ll keep the car moving at a constant (slow) speed, so the consequences aren’t that immediate.
Going to “P” When Your Car is Still Moving
Some of you might think that “P” is merely Neutral with an additional handbrake on: you’re so wrong.
When you’re at P, a locking pin will be inserted into the gear that connected to your transmission output shaft, therefore rendering the wheels stationary.
Putting it on P when the wheels are moving would shear, or even break, that pin. So remember this: you’re not just stepping on the brake when you are on P. You’re putting something inside your car to stop it from moving—and that thing would break.
Don’t so kanjiong lah.
Switching to Neutral when You’re Waiting for the Lights to Turn Green
This is a misconception that many are guilty off: they think that if they go to Neutral, it will save some fuel.
You see, switching from N to D or vice versa isn’t just a move of your hand: there’s a lot of work in the transmission, and doing that regularly would damage the parts involved instead.
Remember, a car is only prepared to change from N to D and back to N during a drive. Doing it ten times in a drive is going to wear out the parts faster.
Not Changing Transmission Oil
When you service your car, what do you usually just say?
“Change engine oil, coolant, and arh, check my brake pads ah.”
In fact, you see more engine oil than transmission oil (do they even sell that?) in petrol stations.
While it’s imperative to change engine oil every servicing, take note of your transmission oil as well. They, too, need to be changed, though at a rather shorter interval, say like after every 80,000 km.
This means for a regular driver, it needs to be changed every four years—something that is forgotten easily, especially if you change your workshop more than you change the transmission oil. So take note of that yourself.
Not Making Sure the Car Isn’t Moving Before Shifting
Some people like to shift it to Netrual before approaching a traffic light just to save fuel.
Taking that flawed logic aside, doing that will stress your transmission, simply because it’ll be “confused”. It’s the same logic as going down a slope on neutral: you’re going to use more of your brake pad as well.
Not Getting Used to the Car Before Moving off Fast
Some people like to call an auto transmission car a “toy car”: just step and brake. How hard can it be?
Well, you still need to get used to it, albeit shorter than a manual car, but there is still a period to “break in”.
Disregarding the power of the engine, the transmission would be different for each car as well. Some would be responsive and fast (newer cars) while some would take forever to respond and change gears slow AF (older cars).
So if you’re used to an old car, don’t step into a new car and floor the accelerator. That new car might just become an accident car after that.
Not Checking Your Coolant Regularly
Yeah, I know some of you would be retorting, “Eh hello! Coolant is to cool the engine leh!”
Let me explain.
When your car overheats (due to the lack of coolant), the transmission oil burns. And remember how we often neglect our transmission oil? The burn will also cause leaks in the transmission gaskets, leading to even less transmission oil.
So rule of thumb: always check that damn coolant. And always have a bottle of coolant in your car, for your engine’s and your transmission’s sake.
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