The Things We Do To Our Atlanta Cars…

Your Atlanta Car dealer wants to know: What’s worse?

Under or over-inflating tires?

A couple extra PSI of air pressure in your tires will result in a harsher ride as well as faster tread wear. Tires inflated significantly above the maximum recommended pressure may also pop just like a balloon.

On the other hand, tires 5, 10 or even 20 psi below the recommended pressure can lead to weird handling/poor braking, even a sudden failure due to the heat build-up (see: Ford-Firestone).

An extra quart in the crankcase? Or down a quart?

Running a quart low is far less potentially damaging than running a quart over. Reason? Excess oil in the crankcase is more than the engine was designed to hold — and that oil has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, that “somewhere” is probably going to be somewhere it shouldn’t be, which in a modern emissions controlled car can lead to other (expensive) problems.

Drive off right away — or “warm it up” a little first?

One of the biggest differences between “old” cars (circa. mid-late 1980s) and “modern” cars is the warm-up protocol.

Older cars without computers needed more cold-start hand-holding. It often took a couple of minutes for the choke to turn itself off and the engine to settle into a comfortable (and stall-free) idle. With modern cars, warm-up happens much faster. Most owner’s manuals say it’s fine to drive away normally within 30 seconds or so after start-up.

Ride the brakes — or “gear down”?

Descending a steep grade, which is smarter: Using the brakes to keep the car from picking up too much speed? Or downshifting to a lower gear and using engine braking to achieve the same thing?

Replacement brake pads (and even calipers and rotors, etc.) are a lot cheaper, usually, than a new clutch or rebuilt transmission. So the argument from the economical perspective is: Use the brakes — and save the wear and tear on your clutch/transmission.

On the other hand, how much is your life worth? Riding the brakes for extended periods on steep downhill grades may heat them up to the point that braking power starts to fade. If that happens, you won’t be able to stop the car as quickly…maybe not at all. Put the transmission in a lower gear to keep the car from building up too much speed on extended downhills.

Of course those are just a couple…your Atlanta car Dealer has seen them all. Can any one else come up with any more “Which is Worse” scenarios?

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