5 Important Tips for SUV Owners

Owning and operating a sport utility vehicle (SUV) is a different experience than owning and operating the average car. SUV’s come with their own set of requirements, as well as potential issues, and it takes a dedicated mindset to truly understand and maintain such a vehicle at the level it requires to be safe and perform effectively. AAMCO Colorado can help keep your SUV in top running condition, from manufacturer recommended maintenance schedules to tune ups and larger repairs, as well as 4x4 transmissions, both automatic and manual.

1. Learn the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and stick with it.

SUV’s are expensive to own and operate, and more expensive to repair than a normal car. Proper maintenance is imperative to ensure a long life. Even with all the modern monitoring systems designed to keep track of every little drop of fluid and mile driven, if you don’t follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, your SUV will eventually wear out, break down, and potentially cost you a lot more money than you anticipated.

You should strictly follow the preventive maintenance schedule set by your SUV’s manufacturer. The maintenance schedule is designed and laid out for your benefit and to make sure you get the most out of your vehicle. AAMCO Colorado can help ensure that your SUV in its best operating condition every time you drive it.

2. Brake Early

SUV’s weigh considerably more than regular automobiles – anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 pounds. They take more to get going, and a lot more to stop. They also need more room to come to a complete stop. When driving in wet, snowy, or slippery conditions, you really need to take into consideration your ability to stop and maintain control of the vehicle. A large vehicle does not stop faster or better because of its weight. It is quite the opposite. The increased weight actually works against you, carrying the vehicle forward with greater inertia. Having four-wheel drive does not give you any advantages or added safety, either, when it comes to stopping on ice or other slick conditions. Check your owner’s manual or go online for specific information and recommendations on braking for your particular vehicle.AAMCO Colorado - image of SUV in mountain forest near muddy road.

3. Everything is Larger

Learn your SUV’s major critical parts, including ones that cars don’t have. SUV’s can come with flat beds, dual axles, four wheel hubs. Understand how even the usual parts are different – tires, breaks, struts, shocks, and of course the engines are all larger. The spare tire is the same size as the other four, so be prepared to lug that monster out if you get a flat. The gas tank is larger – hopefully you have the budget to keep it full. Those are just a few things you can expect now that you’ve upsized your transportation.

4. Learn How to Use Your SUV Correctly & Drive It Accordingly

Respect your SUV and appreciate it for what it is – a powerful vehicle with extra special capabilities. It can carry heavy loads, scramble over rough roads, power through tough conditions, tow trailers, and much more. Just be careful to not overuse it all the time. Your SUV has its limits and will wear out like any vehicle. This is largely dependent on how hard it is pushed on a regular basis. Learn how to load it and distribute weight evenly.

Additionally, learn how to drive it, especially if you’re going to take it off road. Be aware of ground clearance, shocks and struts ratings, tires. Because of its size, weight distribution, and height, it will perform differently than a normal car in certain situations or conditions. Cornering, for instance, will be vastly different, and you should take it slowly as you become accustomed to the vehicle.

As mentioned above, the engine is obviously larger and should be driven with due respect. Drive with caution as road conditions permit. You should not really ever have to use your SUV’s absolute full power. If you do, you are either playing with disaster, or are desperately trying to avoid or evade it. In either case, expect the unexpected as all that horsepower kicks in.

5. Watch Your Gas Gauge

SUV’s use a lot more fuel than regular cars. The cylinders in their engines are larger, therefore requiring a larger amount of gas to fuel those explosions that make an internal combustion engine the wonder that it is. Keep an eye on the gas gauge so as not to be caught on empty and stuck in the middle of nowhere. Even an SUV can’t get you out of nowhere if it doesn’t have any gas.

Come to your local AAMCO Colorado store for a complete Vehicle Courtesy Check. We’ll help you keep your SUV running reliably so you can drive with peace of mind and confidence.

If you have questions about your SUV’s road readiness, or about repairs and maintenance topics, AAMCO Colorado can help. You can also go online and use the AAMCO Colorado Ask a Mechanic feature to submit your auto repair questions. They will be answered by a real AAMCO Colorado mechanic as soon as possible.

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