Car service guide: 7 Driving habits that are killing your car
When it comes to reliability and longevity there is more to car ownership than regular servicing and maintenance. The way you drive your car and the habits you have developed can have a big impact on how long your car lasts on the road. In today's blog we will look at a few common problem areas and how to fix them.
Aggressive acceleration and braking
Aggressive starts and abrupt gear shifts not only compromise fuel efficiency but also put extra stress on your engine and drive train components which will cause them to fail prematurely. What you should be doing is aiming for a smooth, gradual increase in speed with well placed gear changes at around 2000rpm. This more relaxed driving style will be rewarded with better fuel efficiency and a longer lasting drive train from engine to gearbox. This of course means you spend less money of vehicle repairs too.
Similarly to aggressive acceleration, aggressive braking will put unnecessary stress on your braking system and connected components. Instead of braking hard at the last second in an effort to grind your brake pads to the metal, consider braking earlier and gradually coming to a stop to decrease wear and tear on your braking system.
We've all been behind someone who's guilty of this. Constantly hitting the brakes as they nervously make their way around a corner. Brake light on, brake light off, repeat. While this cautious approach may feel safer behind the wheel it is in fact putting extra load onto your braking system and wearing your discs and pads out unnecessarily.
Try to take corners in one smooth motion, getting the speed right before entry and gliding through without dabbing the brakes and unsettling the car. This is much better for your cars braking system and fuel economy in the long run.
Letting your car idle for extended periods may seem harmless, but it can take a toll on your engine. Excessive idling contributes to increased fuel consumption, engine wear, and environmental pollution. Learn how to minimise idle time, turn off your engine during prolonged stops, and reap the benefits of a healthier car and a cleaner environment.
A common misconception is that cars need to warm up before being driven. While it is true that you shouldn't abuse your vehicle when its cold, you're perfectly ok to warm the vehicles engine up by driving carefully until it is up to temperature.
Hitting pot holes or speed bumps
This one should be fairly obvious but we regularly see vehicles in our car service and repair centre that have fallen victim to a nasty bump from the roads. We understand some pot holes can be hard to spot but being a little more observant could save you an expensive repair bill.
Our roads seem to have gotten progressively worse in recent years with nasty pot holes being more common than ever. These can cause serious damage to your wheels and suspension components if not avoided. Remember that in cases where potholes, speed bumps and high kerbs are an unavoidable obstacle your car will thank you for moving slowly across them.
Resting your hand on the gear stick
Aside from meaning that you have less control of the vehicle, continuous pressure on the gear stick can contribute to premature wear and tear of the transmission components. The gear linkage and synchromesh system are designed to operate smoothly when pressure is applied intentionally during gear changes, not to withstand constant pressure. Make a habit of resting your hands on the steering wheel while driving to prevent this from happening and have better control of your vehicle.
Riding the clutch
This is a term used to describe people keeping their foot on the clutch pedal after they have changed gears or for a prolonged period of time like waiting at traffic lights or on a hill. Riding the clutch is terrible for your car and will make sure that your clutch wears out prematurely due to the increased stress it endures. It is worth noting that a clutch is generally considered a wear and tear item which means its not covered by most warranties.
The best way to remedy this is to make sure that you use the hand brake and take your foot off of the clutch pedal whilst stationary. When driving you should use the foot rest (if you have one) as much as possible only putting your foot on the clutch when it's time to change gears.
Running your car on low fuel
With the rise in fuel prices over the last year or so more and more people are running their cars on a low tank for a long period of time. This is bad for your car because the debris that collect at the bottom of your tank are more likely to get sucked through the fuel system and cause damage to the pump and other components.
Many fuel pumps are also designed to be cooled by the fuel they are submerged in and constantly running on a low tank means that your pump is more likely to deteriorate faster. The best way to fix this problem is by treating a ¼ full tank as an empty one and using that as your cue to refill at your local fuel station.
We hope this list has given you some thing to think about when you're next behind the wheel and that you can save your car from any unnecessary repairs through bad habits!