Bad Driving Habits: Do You Have Them?

Credit: Santeri Viinamäki

You know how important servicing, tyre rotations, and drive belts replacement are. If your car is going to serve you reliably for many years, you may even have a calendar for taking care of routine maintenance tasks.

But have you considered that the way you drive can ultimately effect the cost of maintaining your car?

Unfortunately, the way you drive has a direct impact on the durability of your car and its components. Even the most experienced drivers may have driving habits that quicken the wear and tear on the vehicle.

If left unchecked, these habits result in costly repairs and spare parts replacements which could otherwise be avoided.

Avoid the following everyday driving habits that unnecessarily quicken your car’s wear and tear.

Resting your Hand on the Shifter

Unless you’re changing gears, there’s no reason to touch the shifter. By resting your hand on the shifter, you are placing a necessary weight on the transmission. This causes internal wear and tear.

You’re better off putting both your hands on the steering wheel until you need to change gears.

Ignoring the Parking Brake

Forgetting or neglecting to use the parking brake forces the entire weight of your car to rest on the parking pawl. The parking pawl is a small metal component within the transmission system.

This habit eventually causes the parking pawl to wear and tear which makes them shifter on the pole to become less effective. Always use the parking brake.

Overloading the Vehicle

All manufacturers provide written advice on the maximum payload for a vehicle. While we are not advocating that remove the backseats and clear all the unneeded cargo in the car, you should always ensure that you do not haul extra weight that is well above the vehicle’s payload.

Extra weight affects the fuel economy of the car and increases stress on the suspension, brakes, and drive train components.

Ensure that your trunk doesn’t contain unnecessary load.

Driving with an Empty Tank

Most modern fuel pumps in a car are cooled by submersion in fuel. When the pump system is not cooled, it overheats and causes wear and tear more quickly.

Always ensure that your gas tank is at least a quarter full to prevent this from occurring.

Hard Starts and Stops

Hard starting and stopping applies undue pressure on the throttle and is not advisable. It is preferable to gradually apply pressure on the accelerating pedal, rather than stomping the pedal to the metal.

Sudden stops cause quicker wear-and-tear on the braking pads and rotors. Good drivers plan ahead so that they can press the pedals more smoothly.

GOFAR is able to help you modify your driving behaviour. Learn more.

Revving a Cold Engine

Revving the engine when it’s cold causes an abrupt temperature change that can damage the engine components. Allow the engine to idle for a few minutes before you drive so that the temperature can spread through the engine system and aid easier circulation of oil.

Revving the engine when it’s cold can also damage engine components or oil that has not been circulated. The engine revs up more smoothly and sounds better when it is warm.

Riding the Clutch

Some drivers ride the clutch when waiting a red stop light, or even indeed at a stop sign.

Riding the clutch can cause the surfaces to reduce grease on each other with in turns increases friction and wears down the pressure plate, release arm, and release bearing.

Have the clutch out and the shifter in neutral, and wait out for the light to turn green before you press the clutch and engage the gear.

Abruptly Switching from Reverse to Drive

Most drivers switch from reverse to drive when trying to fit into a parking spot without completely stopping the car.

This driving behaviour causes strain on the drivetrain when it is forced to move in a different direction. Always ensure that you have completely stopped the car before you switch from reverse to drive.

Coasting Downhill with Brakes Lightly Applied

Some drivers rest their feet on the brake pads when driving downhill. These driving habits cause strain on the braking system and allow heat to build which can, in turn, cause wear and tear and ruin rotors and brake pads.

Instead of resting your foot on the brake pedal, shift your car to a lower gear to direct the drive train to decompress more naturally.

You will eventually find that engine braking is as effective as regular breaking when the objective is to maintain a slower speed driving downhill.

Ignoring the Engine Squeaks and Rattles

The engine will squeak and rattle as a warning sign that something is wrong with the car. Don’t wait out to find the cause of the noise.

The moment you find out that your car is making some unusual noises, make a plan to inspect the problem immediately.

GOFAR offers an OBD2 compliant engine diagnostics tool. You can learn whether you have a serious problem, written in plain English and non-technical terminology. Explore here.

Credit: Wikimedia Common

Avoid Sudden Braking

Drivers who travel often within congested cities sometimes need to apply brakes suddenly. Perhaps you are driving too close to the car in front, or you are speeding over a hill and not expecting traffic congestion.

Every time you approach another car, slow down.

Always be on the lookout for a vehicle’s brake light so that you can start braking more naturally instead of sudden braking.

Skipping or Delaying Regular Maintenance

Tow trick drivers find that the most common reason why cars break down on highways is that their owners neglected to take the vehicle for its regular maintenance.

You can end up paying more for servicing and repair than you’d have spent on routine maintenance which includes oil change, change of filters etc.

Ignoring Dashboard Warning Lights

Standard vehicles have at least 30 different car warning lights. Dashboard light warnings include empty tank notifications, engine overheating, failure to wear a seatbelt and more.

Every time you ignore the dashboard lights, you are putting undue pressure on the car components which in the long run will increase the overall effect of wear and tear.

Failure to Use Handbrake

Don’t be tempted to use the transmission to park instead of applying the handbrake. Not applying the handbrake places undue pressure on a small metal component called the pawl which is attached to the transmission shaft.

If this metal component is abused for a long time, it will damage the gear system as well as other parts or the car.

Under Revving your Car

Some drivers think that they are saving fuel by keeping the vehicle in higher gear instead of moving it to a lower gear.

This habit can be expensive because it causes unnecessary pressure on the cylinder heads.

Not Letting your Turbocharger Cool Down

The turbocharger is a component that allows extra air into the combustion chamber that in turn increase the car’s power. It takes longer to cool compared to the rest of the engine when you stop.

It is essential to let the car idle for a few minutes before you switch off the turbocharger.

Failure to Use Smart Technology

Use smart driver technology such as GOFAR to monitor the health of your car.

GOFAR helps you to find your car engine’s sweet spot and then guides you toward driving efficiently and saving on fuel and will reduce wear on your brakes.

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