Don't Speed

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Don't Speed

Keeping your speed as low as possible is a great way to cut back on wear and tear on your engine.

© iStockphoto.com/plusphoto

Unleashing your inner Michael Schumacher on public roads is bad for many reasons. Driving too fast wastes gas, increases emissions, and of course, puts you at the risk of getting ticketed or being involved in a wreck.

But did you know excessive speed is also bad for your engine? It forces your engine work harder by pumping and using more fuel, and forces the pistons and other moving parts to work at a higher speed than is optimal.

The ideal cruising speed for most cars and trucks is about 50 to 55 miles per hour (80.5 to 88.5 kilometers per hour). But to cruise at 60 miles per hour (96.6 kilometers per hour) requires about 73 percent more horsepower. And to cruise at 70 miles per hour (112.7 kilometers per hour), it requires nearly 160 percent more horsepower [source: GPS Direct]. Think how much harder your engine has to work to put out that kind of power.

Granted, 55 miles per hour (88.5 kilometers per hour) will put you far below the speeds driven by most motorists America's highways. Some states now have 80-mile per hour (128.7-kilometer per hour) speed limits on certain highways. But keeping your speed as low as possible while maintaining a safe velocity is a great way to cut back on wear and tear on your engine.

Next, we'll discuss proper gear shifting and how that impacts your car's engine.

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