Driving Habits That Could Be Damaging Your Car

We have covered the importance of vehicle maintenance in some detail and by now you should know that regular oil changes, tyre rotation and changing drive belts are essential for keeping your car running smoothly. Not to mention MOTs and regular services but what about driving habits that could damage your car without you even knowing?

To keep your car road legal and reliable for many years, not only do you need routine maintenance but also watch how you drive. Not many vehicle owners truly comprehend how the way you drive on a daily basis can significantly impact the longevity of your car and its parts.

Bad Driving Habits To Avoid

Even the most experienced drivers have driving habits that could cause unnecessary wear and tear. If left unchecked, these driving habits can easily result in costly repairs or replacements that you could have avoided. Let’s take a look at some of the most common driving habits that often lead to damage or poor performance.

Resting Hand On The Gear Lever

Unless you’re in the process of changing gears, there is no reason to touch the gear lever. Did you know that resting your hand on the gear lever places weight on the transmission and selector fork which could cause premature internal wear? Always keep both hands on the steering wheel and only take it off when changing gears. Fact is, some vehicle owner’s manuals specifically advise against resting your hand on the gear lever so it’s certainly worth checking yours.

Dragging Brakes Downhill

Dragging the brakes downhill is a really bad habit that causes strain and a build-up of heat in the brake system. It can easily result in additional wear and tear on your brake pads and brake discs resulting in more frequent replacements which is an unnecessary expense.

When travelling downhill, rather shift into a lower gear, lightly apply the brakes and then release the pedal to allow the brakes to cool. Only apply the brakes when needed before repeating the process until you get to the foot of the hill. This is also known as engine braking which helps the car slow down using natural drivetrain decompression.

Riding The Clutch

If there was anything many drivers are guilty of is riding the clutch. While it may seem convenient, riding the clutch is a terrible idea for several reasons. One of which is that the clutch is considered a “wear and tear” item and not covered under a normal warranty. Secondly, poor clutch control can result in excessive wear and considerably shortening the lifespan of the clutch plate, release bearing and release arm.

It’s best to take your foot off the clutch pedal completely when stopping and change to neutral. When engaging a hill-start, make sure you engage your handbrake. When you are ready to pull away, simply press the clutch, change gear and you’re good to go.

Cold Revving The Engine

A common belief is that making regular short trips is bad for your car as the engine oil never fully warms up. While that may be the case, all vehicles start from cold and the more important point here is to never rev the engine until it has had a chance to warm up properly.

Revving your engine when it’s still cold can cause abrupt temperature changes and possibly damage components. It also leads to wear on engine parts that have not yet been lubricated with the oil circulating as it should. Letting your car idle for a minute or two gives the oil time to warm and circulate around the engine.

Braking Late

While braking late is absolutely essential when performing an emergency stop, doing so regularly will put more strain on the braking system. It can wear out your brake pads and brake discs much faster and it will end up costing you more in fuel as well. We always recommend a slow and considered approach where you anticipate the road ahead whether its traffic, hills or corners. It’s just better for your car, the environment and safer for you and your family whether driving to school or a weekend getaway.

Running On A Low Fuel Tank

 While filling up your tank to the brim may not fit your budget all the time, only adding a gallon or two is bad news. Most drivers don’t even know that this can effectively lead to very costly repairs down the line. Today’s fuel pumps are submerged in fuel to keep it cool which means driving on empty can cause the pump to heat up and wear out much faster. We recommend keeping your tank at least a quarter full to help prevent this from happening.

Changing From Drive To Reverse Before Stopping

Changing between reverse and drive, or vice versa, with an automatic gearbox is incredibly bad for the transmission. Most drivers will admit that this is common practice, especially when trying to fit into a tight parking spot. While it seems harmless, you should avoid this habit at all costs.

Changing gear before coming to a complete stop will cause additional wear and tear on the transmission band instead of the discs and pads. While these are serviceable parts, any work done on the automatic transmission will be labour-intensive and costly. Not to mention you will be left without a car for quite some time which is something many of us can’t afford.

The same applies when changing gears in a manual car so we recommend that you stop completely before switching into reverse. If you own a modern car, many models won’t actually allow you to do so without stopping anyway.

The Elite Promise

Elite Garages provide quality services you’d come to expect from a dealership servicing with greater value and no hidden costs. We perform expert car maintenance from full servicing of all makes and models, tyres, batteries, MOT’s and more. Don’t forget our golden rule of the ‘Elite Price Promise’.

“If you find a genuine printed cheaper price for the same product which is in stock we will meet or beat this price at time of purchase.”

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