With the hassle of a daily commute, it has now become more convenient to drive personal vehicles. The thing about cars is—they don’t come in cheap (both the purchase and maintenance) and you have to bring them in a car service center every once in a while.
Due to the bank-breaking prices of cars, we make sure that our ride lasts for years or even decades if possible.
Unbeknownst to most car owners, there are driving habits that can lead to a vehicle’s early demise. If your car can sing, you wouldn’t want it to be singing “Killing me softly” right?
If you want to know if you have any habits that can damage your car, then read on!
Here are some driving habits that can slowly damage your car and may land you a trip to the nearest car service center:
- Not Allotting Time for the Engine to Warm Up
When frying, the oil must first be pre-heated. Similarly, a car must be warmed up first before driven off from its position. As the warm oil circulates around the engine, probable damage and friction are avoided.
Before you go speeding off, make sure to wait at least a minute for your car to warm up.
- Not Utilizing the Parking Brake
Did you know that the parking pawl inside your transmission is only about the same size of your finger? Imagine that tiny piece of metal is carrying the entire weight of your car if you park without using the parking brake. With the support of the parking brake to even out the weight, early death of this transmission piece can be avoided.
- Driving with Low Fuel
Next time you had your car juiced up, you may want to pay a little more than half a tank worth of gas. This practice will ensure an undamaged fuel pump and engine.
Fuel pumps only stay cool when submerged in fuel inside the tank. Continues driving with less than a quarter full of fuel may lead to a damaged fuel pump.
Keep in mind that the closer the gas level is to the bottom of the tank means your fuel will be drawn up from the bottom. Settled sediments will then be stirred and pulled up into the fuel line, and may clog the fuel filter. In some scenarios, these small particles can also slip into the engine. We wouldn’t want that to happen.
Sure, it may be costly. But paying a little extra is still cheaper than a major repair or replacement.
- Speeding Past Potholes and Speed Bumps
Potholes and speed bumps are an inevitable part of the road. Driving through these causes impacts resulting in lumpy tires and cracked alloys.
Since these are road parts that are often encountered, caution must be observed when passing by. Remember to slow down when driving over one, since speeding past can damage the car’s front and rear or even the exhaust system.
- Abrupt Gear Shifting
Did you know that not taking that single second to stop the car before shifting the gear from Reverse to Drive can ruin your vehicle’s drivetrain? Taking a short moment to properly shift your gears can save you a trip to the car service center for an engine, transmission, or even axle repair.
- Utilizing the Shift Lever as a Hand Rest
If you drive a manual transmission car, then you’ll know how comfortable it is to rest one hand on the shift lever. Unfortunately, it may be convenient for you, but not for your precious vehicle. The weight of the hand on the shifter strains the bushings and synchronizers of the transmission—leading to early damage.
- Overusing the Clutch
When stuck in traffic, most stick shift drivers are guilty of this bad habit. Whenever a clutch is fully in while the car is not moving, its surfaces are worn out as they scrape against each other. Other parts such as release bearing, release arm, and pressure plate can also outwear prematurely.
- Pushing on the Brakes Downhill
To prevent the car from rolling down uncontrollably, the brakes are often pressed down almost to its maximum. Consequentially, brake pads and rotors may heat up and wear out.
When driving down a hill (or anything of that sort), drivers should shift into lower gear. With the drivetrain’s natural decompression, the car will move at a manageable pace.
- Disregarding Warning Signs
Whenever you get symptoms that you might be coming down with a cold, do you go to the doctor immediately?
The same goes for your car. It signals you through vibrations, squeaks or any difference in the overall welfare of the car. Unusual conditions are indications that it’s not smooth sailing in the other parts of the vehicle.
You can just look down at your dashboard and see if it’s lighting up specific icons that may cue complications. Just make sure that you have read your car’s manual so you’ll know what these lighted icons indicate.
Make sure that you make a trip to the car service center and visit your car’s favorite mechanic for a checkup.
- Mismatched Gear and Speed
Driving in a high gear but slow speed or vice versa will surely generate strain on the engine and cylinder heads. Repair of such damage is expensive, yet easily avoided.
- Turning Off the Engine Without “Cooling Down”
Here’s to those car owners with a turbocharger. It may increase power as it ushers extra air to the combustion chamber, but it does take a longer time to cool down. For proper care, place the engine in idle mode for at least a minute before proceeding to completely turn off the engine.
So, have you been doing any of these?
Remember, “Prevention is better than cure”. By changing these habits, your vehicle is certain to last for years—or even decades.