Damaging Your Car With Bad Habits
Buying a car is a big investment, and for most of us, a car is something we’d like to keep running as long as possible. But sometimes our own bad habits are a car’s worst enemy. Which ones are you guilty of?
We’ve compiled a list of the worst habits that could be damaging your vehicle – you may not even realise you’re doing them – so stop now before your car gives up the ghost!
Dragging your brakes can add increased wear and tear on brake pads and discs, meaning they will need to be replaced more often, thus costing you more money. So when you’re travelling downhill, make sure you go into a low gear, apply some light braking then take your foot off the pedal to let the brakes to cool. Continue doing this until you’re at the bottom of the hill.
Resting your hand on the gearstick
Another bad habit is resting your hand on the gearstick. Not only because both hands should be on the wheel when driving, but did you know that this can also be bad for the transmission? The gearstick is connected to something called a selector fork and by resting your hand on the gearstick, you’re indirectly applying pressure to the selector fork, risking premature wear.
Flooring the accelerator in a high gear
Accelerating at low revs, or in too high a gear, means the engine is working harder, placing unnecessary strain on it. Change down a gear and allow the revs to rise before changing up. This is particularly important when carrying heavy loads or when climbing hills.
Carrying too much unnecessary weight
It’s a fairly common habit; pram/golf clubs/selection of old CDs that used to be played but now that everything runs off Bluetooth from your phone you don’t need them and gets left in the boot, or the roof box sits on the top as there’s nowhere else to put it, or you just haven’t gotten around to taking it off after you get home from holiday.
The more weight that’s in your car, the more strain you’re placing on the brakes, the suspension and the drivetrain, whilst also increasing fuel consumption and probably exhaust emissions.
Shifting from drive to reverse before stopping
Shifting gear in a manual car before coming to a stop will cause – again – unnecessary wear and tear on the brake discs and pads, so let the car come to a complete stop before switching in to reverse.
In an automatic car, shifting gear before coming to a stop will cause wear and tear on transmission, which could be costly.
Hitting potholes and speed bumps
Whilst we appreciate that in certain driving conditions potholes can be difficult to see, they should be avoided. The impact of driving through a pothole can cause wheels to buckle, alloys to crack and also disturbance to the tracking and wheel balancing.
Equally, driving over a speed bump without slowing down can cause damage to the front and rear of the car, the underside of the car, and even potentially damage the exhaust system.
Neglecting warning lights
It’s worth checking your owner’s manual to find out what the warning lights on your dashboard mean and which are the most serious ones, so you know when it’s essential seek immediate help from a garage.
Revving the engine when cold
Overnight, the oil in a car engine will settle and cool, meaning in the morning you need to give the oil time to warm and circulate around the engine. Avoid revving the engine until it is warmed up to avoid damage and wear and tear.
Riding the clutch
It may be comfortable to rest your foot against the clutch pedal, but ‘riding’ the clutch will cause excessive wear, shortening the life of the plate. Ensure your foot stays off the pedal unless you are changing gear or stopping.
Make use of the off-clutch footrest, if fitted. When performing hill-starts, leave the car in neutral with the handbrake on until you’re ready to move.
When performing an emergency stop, sudden braking is essential. But constant late braking will place avoidable strain on the braking system, wearing out your pads and discs faster. It’s a lot safer for drivers to anticipate the road ahead, slowing the car smoothly and gently and is much better for your car, fuel consumption and the environment.