Correct your bad driving habits and save!

Correct your bad driving habits and save!

There are certain habits that we take on as drivers and we spend a good portion of our day in a vehicle. Consider these bad driving habits next time you are behind the wheel and start fixing them in order to protect your vehicle and wallet.

Whether it’s revving your car engine to reach an intersection in time or braking sharply and repeatedly when stuck in a backlog of traffic, repair costs are not something to be taken lightly. Take a look at the following 10 ways you could be damaging your vehicle and bank balance:

  1. You ignore the warning signs: We spend so much time in our vehicles and become accustomed to our vehicle’s quirks that we eventually ignore them. Ignoring little squeaks, rattles, bangs or other unusual noises that your vehicle makes is a mistake. These sounds are a sign that something is wearing out or about to cease soon. As soon as you hear a sound, it is vital that you identify it and get it checked out immediately. Similarly, if an engine light or similar warning light keeps coming up on your dashboard do not ignore it, this could indicate something serious which needs urgent attention.
  2. You rest your hand on the gear lever: Resting your hand on the gear lever places weight on the transmission’s bushings and synchronises which leads to internal wear. Keeping both hands on the steering wheel and only taking one off to switch gears will side-pass any unnecessary strain on the gearbox.
  3. You have excess baggage or items in your vehicle: While it may be comforting to know that you have a ‘wardrobe’ in your boot, any unnecessary weight is actually impacting fuel efficiency, handling and applying extra stress to your suspension, brake and driveshaft components. Extra luggage in your vehicle is also a safety risk, especially when parking in public areas.
  4. You do not use the hand (parking) brake: When parking, many people dismiss using the hand brake. This causes the entire weight of your car to rest on the parking pawl (a small piece of metal in the transmission). The parking pawl will eventually wear out and break due to the excessive weight, rendering the ‘P’ gear on your gearbox ineffective. This can cause major problems when parking on a steep incline or decline.
  5. You drive with minimal petrol: Petrol is expensive but by only adding small amounts of fuel each time could set you back financially down the line. Modern fuel pumps are cooled down when submerged in fuel therefore if there is only a minimal amount of fuel in the tank, your fuel pump will heat up and wear out much quicker. Filling your tank up entirely gives you more kilometres per litre which alone is a great saving but if this is not in your budget, we suggest keeping your tank at least a quarter full to avoid any unnecessary damage.
  6. You brake hard and accelerate fast: Sudden stops are sometimes necessary but this causes the brake pads and rotors to wear out in a shorter space of time. Avoid driving like a hooligan and save on parts.
  7. You think revving the engine helps in winter: Contrary to popular belief, revving your engine does not warm it up. Switching on the ignition and letting the engine idle for a minute or two is the best way to warm the engine up. Revving your engine when it is cold causes abrupt temperature changes that can damage components. It also causes undue wear-and-tear on parts of the engine that have not been lubricated through oil circulation.
  8. You ride on your clutch: When waiting at an intersection, you may use the clutch to keep your car at a standstill. With a significant amount of time spent waiting, the clutch damages the pressure plate, release bearing, and release arm. When the surfaces graze against each other they are worn down and could result in sudden failure. It’s better to wait at an intersection with the clutch out and gear in neutral with the brakes activated than riding your clutch.
  9. You switch from reverse to drive without stopping first:This movement places strain on the drive train by suddenly forcing the vehicle to move in the opposite direction. Make sure your vehicle is stopped completely before switching from reverse to drive or first gear.
  10. You sit on the brakes when going downhill: When navigating a steep hill, you may feel the need to rest your foot on the brake pedal in anticipation of a sharp stop. This gesture strains and heats up the brake system which wears out your brake pads and rotors. Rather shift to a lower gear which will slow down the car through natural drive train decompression.

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Adapted from: http:www.womenonwheels.co.za/tips/bad-driving-habits-damaging-car.

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