8 Bad Driving Habits That Can Ruin Your Car (and Savings)
Good driving habits are learned--and so are the bad ones. Unfortunately, there are countless ways these wrong practices can damage your vehicle, with the end result leading to a small -- or huge dent on your savings.
And while we can't guarantee your driving experience will be smooth all the time, we can at least assure you that you'll significantly lessen the damage to either your car and your savings if you avoid the following driving habits:
Not using the parking brake when on a hill (for automatic cars)
When you don't use the parking brake, it forces your car's entire weight to fall on the parking pawl--a small, metal pin found within the automatic transmission. Doing this often will eventually break it down, making that "P" on your shifter unresponsive in the long run.
What you can do is to shift the transmission into neutral while your right foot is still firmly pressed on the brake. Now set the parking brake, and then slowly remove your right foot away from the brake. Then shift your transmission to "Park." This will allow the vehicle's weight to rest against the parking brake instead of the transmission.
Carrying extra weight
You might be one of those people who always believes in being prepared, but if your vehicle is stocked like an auto supplies store (and repair shop), then you might want to think about downsizing a bit.
Adding unnecessary weight not only increases fuel consumption, but also stresses out the brakes, suspension, and drive-train components. It also affects handling in the process.
And if you think you're not carrying unnecessary weight, then think again. Do you have--
Extra headrests, floor mats, cushions, decorations and water bottles in your car?
You don't need them, especially if you're the only one who drives the car regularly.
Metal tool boxes, glass bottles, jumper leads, or a full-size spare wheel inside your trunk?
Replace the metals and glasses with plastic, such as a plastic tool box or plastic bottles.
Also, don't even think that you should only settle with a full-size spare wheel in your car. There are some options you can take here. For instance, you can go out and buy those space saver ones, or take it to the extreme by getting rid of your entire spare and jack and just carry a puncture spray, instead. And while we really don't recommend this, it might actually work for you.
Do you have a roof rack, roof bars, and a tow trailer?
Take them out when you don't need to use them. A tow trailer alone weighs almost 4 kg. when hooked up to the back end.
Taking all the things we mentioned here will shed more than 25+ kgs. effortlessly.
Driving on an "Almost Empty" fuel level
It's not bad to drive with an almost "empty" sign flashing on your dashboard--that is, if it rarely occurs. But when you make it your life's mission to scrape the fuel tank's bottom with every last ounce of fuel remaining in it, then you've got a problem.
Here's why: Most modern cars, particularly those with fuel injectors, are sensitive to an empty fuel tank. That's because they have a tendency to accumulate sediments that settle at the bottom of the fuel tank after some time.
When the tank's near empty, then the pump will draw fuel from that very same bottom where all the not so good particles reside in. This pulls these sediments into the fuel line, which has a very good chance of clogging your fuel filter. There are even some cases where they might go way past into the engine itself -- something that spells "expensive repair" in big, bold letters.
Driving with your hand resting on the shift lever
We have only two words to say here: Hands off. When you rest your hand on the shifter, it adds weight on the transmissions' synchronizer and bushings, causing internal wear-and-tear.
"Riding the Clutch"
We get you: you tend to press on the clutch while waiting for the light to turn green. That way, you're ready to release it fast and press on the accelerator when it's a "go." So this means you don't waste time.
And while this is a great concept for Fast and Furious movies, this practice can actually damage a lot of your car's parts, especially the release arm, the pressure plate, and the release bearing.
This practice, which is known as "riding the clutch," causes undue pressure on the clutch parts. They continue to graze against each other, which eventually wears them down.Remember: clutch repair is no joke--it can be expensive, so don't put unnecessary pressure on your clutch if you don't want to spend a lot on something you can easily avoid.
The better way to do it is to step off the clutch fast, shift to neutral, and press down on the clutch once again when the traffic light turns green.
Shifting from "Reverse" to "Drive" without stopping
Perhaps you're guilty of this when you're trying to park your car--you know, shifting from reverse to drive even when your vehicle is still rolling backwards. If you said yes, then you're not alone. And you can bet that a lot of you have strained drive trains without you even knowing it.
Drivetrains are quite tough--but doing a "reverse" to "drive" without stopping forces it to move into the opposite direction, causing a lot of strain--and damage in the process.
The best way is to completely stop before you make that switch from reverse to drive. Believe us, your drivetrain will thank you for it.
Choosing the wrong gear
Choosing the wrong gear happens from time to time. But if you do this intentionally, then that's a big problem.
For instance, you might over-rev your vehicle by staying too long in the first gear. Ideally, it's best to rest it only for a short period of time, and then switch to second gear fast. Doing this allows you to avoid the unnecessary strain that may happen on your car's parts when you "overstretch" your first gear down to its breaking point.
Another bad driving habit is skipping. It seems you can't get enough of changing gears that you find joy in skipping them, like shifting from second gear straight to fourth or fifth gear.
The danger here is that when you drive at a speed that's low compared to the gear's actual speed, then your cylinder heads will get damaged. And these parts are expensive to repair.
The solution here is simple: Avoid doing them. Those who drive manual pretty much know the proper way to shift gears. So it's always best to avoid this driving habit to prevent problems in the long run.