The Effects of Traffic on Your Vehicle

For many of us who take a daily drive to work, traffic is high on the list of things we wish we could avoid. It can be inevitable, unpredictable, and often times stressful. But while your brain may be in knots while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, your vehicle is taking an even bigger beating. High-volume periods of traffic tend to be accompanied by a pattern of rapid accelerations and sudden stops, which can deplete the lifespan of your engine. Below are three ways in which traffic impacts your vehicle.

Sudden Stops and the Brake System

When drivers sit in traffic, the majority of their time is spent with a foot pressed firmly against the brake, with a sudden rise and fall in pressure to adapt to traffic patterns. The added wear and tear on your brakes can cause them to age prematurely. To combat this, make it a point to reduce your speed gradually and maintain a larger space between you and the vehicle in front of you. This will alleviate stress on your brakes and lessen the likelihood of a sudden stop.

In addition, if stop-and-go traffic is a regular part of your daily commute, be sure to have your brakes checked and serviced regularly, and have your brake fluid checked each time you get an oil change.

Sitting Idle and Engine Deposits

When your vehicle is sitting in idle, the vehicle’s ventilation system will be at its weakest and most vulnerable. Weak engine ventilation can lead to carbon build-up and create restrictive engine deposits. This slow build up of deposits could go months without any indication, resulting in costly damage to your fuel injectors and limiting the passage of fuel into the combustion chamber.

No matter the make and model, a vehicle that spends more time in traffic should receive an oil change more often than one that does not to avoid such clogging. In addition, fuel injector cleaner will be the best preventative remedy for pesky valve deposits.

Hard Starts and Stops and the Transmission

Transmission fluid provides crucial functions to your vehicle, including cooling, lubrication, and administering fluid pressure. The constant back and forth between stepping on the brake and stepping on the accelerator causes your transmission to work harder than normal. This means that the time your transmission fluid needs time to warm up is, quite literally, accelerated. This may cause the transmission fluid to overheat, which in turn could impair the aforementioned functions.

The best way to prevent this is by checking transmission fluid regularly and having the fluid changed according to schedule, if not slightly before. As with oil changes, transmission fluid changes should be more frequent for drivers who regularly experience stop-and-go traffic.