In 2020, the average American driver sat for 26 hours in traffic jams, albeit a decrease from the previous year at 73 hours, according to Automotive News. One study revealed that commuters lose 42 hours of their life each year sitting in traffic. While traffic can be stressful and frustrating on you as the driver, it also takes a toll on your European vehicle.
That’s because traffic jams cause you to stop and go, which puts wear and tear on the brakes among other systems. When you repeatedly hit the brakes, this action has the following effects:
1. Fuel Waste
Brakes need energy in order to function at their best. When in a traffic jam, the driver has to balance braking and then accelerating, often within a split second. Even though the car is moving, it’s sucking up a lot more gas than if the car was just idling. Did you know that traffic wastes about three billion gallons of fuel?
Fuel consumption and air pollution are the top impacts of traffic jams. When you constantly start and stop your car in traffic, this burns gas at a higher rate than if you were to be smoothly traveling at a consistent speed on the highway. This boost in fuel consumption costs drivers more money in fuel, but it also contributes to higher emissions levels released by all the vehicles on the road. These emissions lead to air pollution and affect global warming.
2. Brake System Wear
Brakes wear down very quickly when you are constantly stuck in traffic. This makes sense, seeing as you’re going 10 miles an hour down to 0 on a continuous basis. If you’re riding the brakes a lot on your commute, your brake pads and other braking system components will wear out more quickly than if you weren’t. Here are some top signs that your brakes need replacing:
- Your car starts pulling to one side when you stop
- Your brake pedal feels different than it did before (i.e., softer, while sinking to the floor)
- Your steering wheel shakes when you come to a stop
- Your vehicle shakes when you stop
- Your car squeals when you stop
3. Fluid Waste
Brake fluid doesn’t get dirty or evaporate like oil and coolants do. But depending on the climate, it may absorb moisture, which lowers the boiling temperature. As a result, the effectiveness of the fluid is compromised and can damage the braking system. Make sure your brake fluids are adequate whenever you visit your European vehicle mechanic.
Coolant evaporation and dirty oil: these are side effects of traffic congestion. It’s important to schedule regular inspections with your trusted Dallas mechanic to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Here are top five fluids that should be checked regularly:
- Engine oil
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
Most fluids should be replaced by a professional rather than by the driver. They know exactly how to replace the fluid and any filters that may be present, plus they will abide by the manufacturers’ recommended fluids for your particular make and model.
4. Drive Belt Wear
The drive belt, also known as the serpentine belt, can be found on the car’s engine and works in conjunction with pulleys, idlers, and tensioners inside the drive belt system. Your drive belt system is important, as it powers your AC, power steering, alternator and coolant system water pumps.
You can expect the average drive belt to last about five years or 50,000 miles before needing replacement. The belt typically fails over time due to the high heat and friction that your car is subjected to on a daily basis, especially if you find yourself in traffic jams a lot. If you suspect drive belt failure, be on the lookout for these signs:
- Squealing sounds from the front of your car
- Malfunctioning AC or power steering
- Overheated engine
- Wear on the drive belt, such as cracks.
As you can see, there are many adverse effects on your European car when you have to sit in traffic on a daily basis.
Contact Hance’s European
We can help keep your European car operating at its best, no matter how much traffic you sit in each year. Just be sure to take your car in to our mechanics for service and inspections on a regular basis. You can contact us at 214-761-8395 today.