Driving Habits Causing Damage To Your Car
Remember that driving instructor who used to insist that you position your hands a particular and place them that way? Well, he was not just being annoying because those seemingly inconsequential habits actually do cause damage to the car. Here are the most common bad habits you need to break immediately.
Resting Your Hand on the Shifter
Unless you’re actively changing gears, there’s no reason to touch the shifter. Resting your hand on the shifter places weight on the transmission’s bushings and synchronizers, causing internal wear. Keeping both hands on the steering wheel, and only taking one off to switch gears, is the best idea.
Not Using the Parking Brake
Neglecting to use the parking brake forces the entire weight of your vehicle to rest on the parking pawl, which is one little piece of metal within the transmission. Doing this could cause the parking pawl to eventually wear out and break, making “P” on your shifter effectively useless. Use the parking brake every time – there’s really no reason not to.
Over loading your car
You should clear out unneeded cargo from your car to keep it light. Every extra weight impacts fuel economy and handling, plus causes extra stress on suspension, brake, and drivetrain components.
Always driving with low fuel
Most drivers don’t know that this can lead to costly repairs further down the road. Modern fuel pumps are cooled by being submerged in fuel, so driving with only a small amount of fuel causes it to heat up and wear out more quickly. Keeping your gas tank at least a quarter full helps prevent this.
Sudden Starts and Stops
Sudden stops are sometimes necessary, but cause faster wear to the brake pads and rotors. Looking ahead, planning ahead, and pressing on the pedals smoothly is the best strategy.
Revving the engine
It’s not a bad idea to let the engine idle for a minute or two after a cold start. This helps it warm up and gives the oil some time to circulate. However, you should resist the urge to rev the engine when it’s cold. Sure, the exhaust sounds great, but revving it when it’s cold causes abrupt temperature changes that can damage components. It also causes undue wear on parts of the engine that haven’t been lubricated by thorough oil circulation. Your engine will sound better, and rev more smoothly, once it’s had a chance to warm up.
Abrupt Switching From Reverse to Drive
When you’re trying to fit into a tight parking spot, it’s common to shift from reverse to drive while still slowly rolling backwards. This habit should be avoided at all costs. Doing so places strain on the drivetrain when it’s suddenly forced to move in the opposite direction. Simply take that extra moment to make sure you’re completely stopped before switching from reverse to drive.
Ignoring what your car is telling you
It’s easy to ignore those little squeaks, intermittent rattles, or other unusual noises your car makes. Those sounds are warning signs that something is wearing out or about to go wrong. Don’t wait to find out the cause of the noise, or it may make itself abundantly clear at the worst possible time. If your car is making strange sounds or giving you other warning signs, it’s important to inspect the issue right away.