You’ve done the research and put in the time, and now you’ve got something great to show for it – a luxury European car that tears up the asphalt and turns heads all over the city. But owning a Bentley, Audi, Porsche or BMW is just one part of the lifestyle. Keeping your car in great shape is just as important, and there are some good habits to have that will get the most out of every mile.
Here are 10 tips that every luxury car driver should know, especially in Calgary and southern Alberta.
1. Treating your turbo right
It’s important to let your turbocharged engine idle after heavy use to prevent premature turbo wear. This is because of the heat generated during use and the properties of the cooling systems that try to keep up with it. Here’s a great layman’s explanation of why this occurs – but the main takeaway is this: you should always let your engine idle after pushing its limits to avoid clogs, overheating, and ruptures.
2. Check your tire pressure
Tires with low pressure have less grip and increased wear, because of the way the weight is distributed around the rubber. But a lack of pressure also lowers fuel economy by quite a bit, because the engine has to provide more power to the axles to complete each full turn. The bottom line? Take a few minutes to check your pressure now and then. You could save hundreds of dollars in fuel every year by doing so.
3. Don't wait for your battery to fail
Imagine going to start your car after a day at the office…and it won’t turn over. Now you’re stuck, and unless someone stops by with some jumper cables, you’re at the mercy of the elements. You can avoid this by recognizing the signs of low power in your car battery, and swapping one that’s on its last legs for a fresh unit. Look for things like dim headlights, dash warning symbols, or corroded terminals. And speaking of those...
4. Clean your battery terminals
It’s not a permanent solution, but here’s a pro tip for you if you ever get stuck with no power. Pop your hood, and if you see some nasty corrosion on your battery terminals, you can improve your chances of a jump start by dissolving the corrosion with cola. That’s right – you can pour a whole can of Coke or Pepsi on top of the battery (but disconnect the cables first), and the acidic ingredients will react with the chemicals to clear away the worst of the buildup. Bonus points if you have a toothbrush or rag to help clear the metal
5. Finding the gas tank quickly
Whether you just bought a new European roadster or you’ve got a loaner vehicle while yours is in the shop, here’s a quick life hack for pulling up to the gas station the right way. On the gauges of almost every modern car, there is an icon with a small arrow – a “Moylan Arrow”, after its creator, Jim Moylan – that points to the side with the gas tank. It’s simple, but it works, and you’ll never have to do the “gas station loop of shame” again.
6. Getting rid of windshield ice
Scraping your windshield can gouge and scratch the glass, and it is often ineffective against thick ice or condensation. Here’s a simple solution: you can prevent windshield ice by pre-treating the glass with a mixture of 2/3 vinegar and 1/3 water. The acidity in the vinegar will keep ice from forming for a day or two, giving you a clear view of the road ahead. (Just be careful of any cracks or chips, and make sure you don’t get it on the paint around the windshield).
7. Turn the lights on
Did you know that turning your headlights on in the daytime can prevent roughly one out of every ten accidents? Our eyes are hardwired to respond to bright lights, and the ones on the front of cars are no different. Especially on grey, bleary days with monotonous colours, headlights can prevent other drivers from zoning out while on the road.
8. Keep your wipers clean
Isn’t it annoying when your wipers leave your windshield dirtier than it was before? To fix this, soak a clean white rag with your favourite glass cleaner and wipe off your blades. This will not only remove dirt, mud, and other debris, but it will prolong the life of your wipers and help them maintain better contact along the entire length – ultimately giving you better visibility.
9. Using science to open doors
We’ve all got bottles of hand sanitizer floating around now – which makes it a highly useful material for when your car door locks get frozen shut. If your handle is jammed, or the actual locking mechanism won’t release, you can lather some alcohol-based hand sanitizer across the handle (or the key, to put in the lock). The alcohol will melt the ice, freeing your door handle from its position and allowing you to get on your way.
10. Efficient planning, efficient mileage
Calgary is a big city – and taking Stoney from the northwest to Cross Iron Mills, Deerfoot down to Prince’s Island Park, and Macleod Trail to your favourite restaurant in the south end can add 100+ km to your odometer, before you head home. You can save fuel costs, maintenance costs, and other wear and tear on your European vehicle simply by grouping short trips together. Take a day to do all your errands in one go, rather than heading back and forth down freeways throughout the week. It may not seem like much, but it’ll add up!
Do you have your own tips for car care and performance? What’s your best piece of advice for new owners? Let us know!