There are some things you absolutely know will ruin your car (and/or its resale value): excessive smoking, major damage, starting a fire in the backseat. Then, there are the other more minute things that you probably don't even think about. If you want to make the most out of your next trade-in, pay very close attention to this handy list. And stop starting fires in the backseat.
1. You're shifting into drive while the car’s still rolling backwards.
You may be thinking that going from reverse to drive before the car has fully stopped isn’t horrible, but think about this: at just 4 mph, today's average car exerts more force than a bullet fired out of a rifle, and you’re asking small pieces of metal to stop it instantly. When you think about how expensive transmission repair can be, you’ll realize why this is shooting yourself in the foot. Which is also extremely costly to repair.
2. You're filling your radiator with nothing but water
If you’re driving hard or stuck in traffic during the extreme heat of summer, untreated water can approach its boiling point given the pressure of most cooling systems. Then, if that water freezes in the winter, it will wreak some serious havoc as it expands, like cracking your engine block. Use a 50/50 mix of water and coolant, just like the book says.
3. You're cleaning your tinted windows with Windex
Windex has ammonia in it, and if it comes in contact with the tint film on your car’s windows, it will discolor it. Use a dedicated automotive window cleaner instead. If you’ve ever seen someone driving down the road with purple tinted windows, it’s fair to assume they sprayed some Windex on it.