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5 things you may be doing to your car, but really shouldn't

5 things you may be doing to your car, but really shouldn't
PHOTO: sgCarMart

Everyone always tells you not to neglect your car, to keep up with the maintenance schedule and to replace broken components as soon as possible, but does it mean that everything is fine and dandy as long as you do so?

Sometimes, the result can vastly differ from your intentions. With cars, often you'll end up hurting it more despite your best intentions. Here are some things that you thought you should be doing to your car, but really shouldn't.

Cheap car wash

Nobody likes to drive around in a dirty car, understandably, you'll want to keep yours clean and fresh.

There's nothing wrong with that, but how would you do it? Would you pop by your favourite detailing shop for a thorough wash? Or would you pay for those services where one guy with a bucket of water goes around washing all the cars in the carpark?

Well, if you opted for the latter, I have some bad news for you. Just think of all the dirt and debris swimming in that same bucket of water - contamination is certain. Instead of a wash, I'd rather call them car scuffing services…

Sub-standard car wash services can cause damages to your car's paintwork, which will be costly to rectify. If you want to keep your car looking good, don't cut corners, do it the right way.

Running till empty for a tank of fresh petrol

You must have heard that petrol turns bad overtime. That is true, petrol can oxidise and turn bad in as quickly as a month. You might think that it is a good idea to use up as much of the petrol in your car's fuel tank before refuelling.

But that would have been a serious mistake. Running a car till it's fuel tank is near empty is very harmful to the fuel pump.

The fuel pump is designed to work while submerged in fuel. Running near empty can cause the fuel pump to overheat without the surrounding fuel to aid in cooling. It can also cause the fuel pump to suck up air, overworking and damaging it, resulting in premature wear of the fuel pump.

Getting maintenance done haphazardly

Maintenance is maintenance right? As long as you get it done, it's all good… If that was the case, no one will choose to pay for premium parts and fluids. Opting to use sub-standard and cheaper parts can be a disaster in the making.

You should always opt for quality products when it comes to important components such as tyres, parts of the braking system and fluids such as engine oil. For example, different tyres perform differently, using a cheap and poorly designed tyre can result in poor traction, especially in the wet - even if it's brand new.

A little bit of extra spending can go a long way in ensuring the safety and reliability of your car.

Using unnecessary additives

Although additives all claim to be beneficial to your car, you shouldn't pour everything in indiscriminately. While most additives are generally safe, there can be instances where incompatibility might occur.

Quality engine oils already include additives to ensure the best protection for your engine, there is no need for third-party additives which can cause more harm than good.

Another popular add-on are engine flushes during an oil change. While it sounds like an effective 'detox' session for your engine, it can be potentially harmful to your car as well - the flushing process can dislodge large particles and cause blockage in other areas of the engine, or even damage the seals in some older engines.

In most situations, regular maintenance with quality products is all your car needs.

Retrofitting LED or HID head light bulbs

You might think that bright head lights will make your drive safer, but blindly putting in brighter bulbs is not only illegal, it can also be dangerous.

Aftermarket LED and HID bulbs are much brighter than the original halogen units found in many cars, but they also require specific projector lenses and head light housings to work properly.

HID bulbs can be extremely hot and draw a ton of power, which can result in a damaged head light assembly and overheated wiring.

Installing incompatible bulbs will cause irritation to other drivers and can also result in poor light scatter pattern and a shorter throw, impeding visibility when driving at night - the reverse of your original intention. Having head lights that doesn't work correctly will surely be a hazard that can cause potential harm to not just your car, but yourself.

ALSO READ: 5 advanced safety features to consider for your car

This article was first published in sgCarMart.

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