Damage to your new car begins the moment you step into the driver’s seat and leave the dealership. However, you won’t notice any issues or have to deal with any huge and costly problems immediately.
You will start observing some troubles, though, if you have bad driving habits. Whether you are aware of these practices or not, if you continue doing them, you will soon have several automotive problems that can cost a fortune to fix.
Knowing what these particular bad driving habits are can help you avoid them and take care of your car better. Moreover, you will be able to prolong the good condition of your vehicle and minimize your expenses.
Habits That Harm Your Vehicle
Automotive experts from a Dubai-based performance car workshop share below seven driving habits that damage various parts and systems and shorten the lifespan of your car:
1. Revving up the engine before it has sufficiently warmed up
Whatever your reason is for being in a hurry, driving out of the parking lot as soon as you put the key in the ignition is never a good idea.
Cold revving can cause sudden changes in the engine temperature, which can put undue stress on its components. This, in turn, can lead to more serious car issues.
To avoid damaging your car, let it sit for a minute or two before revving it up. Doing so allows the oil to run throughout the engine and get it up to the right temperature. As a result, you will experience a smoother drive.
2. Shifting from reverse to drive too quickly
Switching suddenly from reverse to drive is an easy habit you can develop when you drive frequently. However, it is a practice that you have to unlearn as soon as possible.
When you shift from reverse to drive without stopping, your transmission takes a hit. This is because this particular system is not designed to stop the car and switch gears simultaneously. Your vehicle relies on the brakes to halt and have a smooth transition between gears.
Whenever you switch from reverse to drive while your car is still moving, you damage a component or more in the transmission.
To keep your car in great condition, always come to a complete stop before changing from reverse to drive or the other way around. And if you notice that your vehicle is not running smoothly as it was before due to this bad driving habit, have it checked by your mechanic immediately.
3. Hitting potholes
Some places have numerous potholes that make them troublesome and hazardous for driving. Aside from giving you a bumpy ride, slamming into them, even only once, can damage car alignment and suspension.
Hitting a pothole can also lead to broken shock absorbers and steering problems.
As such, always be alert and practice driving defensively to avoid potholes. If you can’t avoid hitting one by swerving, slow down instead. By doing so, you will reduce the impact and subsequent damage.
4. Driving fast over speed bumps
Speed bumps are designed to prevent vehicles from going too fast in certain areas. However, some drivers hit them at high speed, anyway.
If you like speeding over speed bumps, you have to stop. This fixture was installed to keep both pedestrians and drivers safe. If you keep driving over it fast, you are ignoring its purpose.
Moreover, like slamming into potholes, driving fast over speed bumps can damage car alignment.
By slowing down as you approach and go over every speed bump, you keep your car safe and pedestrians at the same time.
5. Not using the parking brake
When you use the transmission whenever you park, you put the entire weight of your car on a component that’s only as big as your finger, which is the parking pawl. Because of its size, it can break easily from wear and tear.
To avoid damaging this component which is difficult and expensive to replace, always use your parking brake every time you park.
Do this even if you are parked on an even surface and whether you have a manual or automatic car.
Using the parking brake evens the load, which then helps the delicate transmission component last longer. It will prevent the failure of your parking system as well.
6. Overusing the brakes
If your routes frequently take you downhill or through stop-and-go traffic, you may have developed the bad habit of riding the brake, which is resting your foot on the pedal for prolonged periods.
This bad practice can result in the brake pads and rotors overheating, which can cause them to warp or get further damage. They will eventually lose their power and make it hard for you to stop quickly and safely.
To avoid or minimize this car-damaging driving habit, switch to a lower gear if you drive a manual. Doing so allows natural decompression to happen in the drivetrain, which will help keep your vehicle at a safe speed. And when you need to hit the brakes, you will find them more responsive and effective.
Additionally, try to let up on the accelerator whenever you slow down and always drive cautiously, with sufficient space between vehicles.
7. Running the car even if the gas tank is really low
Whether you are low on cash and can’t top up immediately or the nearest gas station is still miles away, you have to avoid driving when your fuel is running low or empty.
When you put in only a small amount of gas every time you top up, you are hurting your car fuel system. Many fuel pumps can only maintain a cool temperature when they are submerged in fuel.
If you are always running at a quarter full or less, you will likely need a fuel pump replacement prematurely.
Although you may have to skimp on other things to increase your gas budget, when you put more during your stop at the petrol station, you delay your need for a new fuel pump.
Additionally, avoid driving your car when you already have an empty tank. Doing so can cause a clog in the fuel line, which is also costly to have replaced. Always keep an eye on your fuel gauge and fill up when it is already running low.
Aside from being familiar with the important road safety tips, study your driving habits and check if you are practicing the wrong ones. Correct them immediately to ensure you are always safe and keep your car in excellent working condition.
Ahmad Ramadan is a Managing Partner at Deutsche Technik Service Center, Dubai’s first and largest VW, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley, Porsche, & Lamborghini vehicle specialist and performance tuner. DT has also built an illustrious portfolio in classic car repair, maintenance, and restoration, as well as body work (accident repair, painting, and denting). DT Service Centre offers a full range of services: mechanical repairs, maintenance, servicing, etc.