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Top 10 Driving Habits That Are Secretly Damaging Your Car

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You may be causing damage to your car without knowing it every time you drive. Over time, drivers develop habits that may be as simple as wear they rest their hands or how they park. Some of these habits could be contributing to the wear and tear of your vehicle. If you are doing any of these top 10 driving habits that are damaging your car, you may want to alter your habits to maintain your car’s condition and performance.

1. Neglect to Have the Car Serviced Regularly

Skipping recommended car maintenance checks can be putting your car at risk for big problems. Car maintenance checks can catch minor problems before they become major headaches.

2. Allowing the Fuel to Get Low Before Refilling

We have all been there. You have a busy schedule and you believe you can push the limit and get petrol later even though it’s getting low. Within the fuel tank, dirt and debris settles to the bottom of the tank. When the fuel level gets very low, this grime can be sucked into the system causing blockages in the filter. This can be damaging to the filters and fuel pump.

3. Not Using the Parking Break

Drivers who don’t use the parking break cause stress on a part of the car called the parking pawl. This stress causes excessive wear that can be avoided by simply using your parking break every time you park.

4. Resting Your Hand on the Gear Shifter

It’s common for drivers of manual cars to rest their hand on the gear shifter between uses. What they don’t realize is even that light pressure on the gear shift causes internal wear of the transmission. Keep your transmission in top working order by using the arm rest between shifting rather than keeping your hand on the gear shift.

5. Resting Your Foot on the Clutch Pedal

Similar to resting your hand on the gear shift, leaving your foot on the clutch pedal puts unnecessary pressure on vulnerable parts of the car. Many drivers don’t realize that even lightly resting their foot on the pedal causes pressure on the clutch which leads to the clutch becoming heated. This causes increased wear on the clutch.

6. Hard Starts and Slamming on the Brakes

Smoothly applying the pedals causes less wear and reduces fuel waste than sudden and hard starts and stops. When you hit the brakes hard, you cause significant wear of the brake components including the brake pads and rotors.

7. Revving the Engine Before Warm

Many drivers get in the habit of revving the car engine while waiting for the car to warm up in winter. Revving the engine while it’s still cold causes drastic temperature changes. This temperature shock can damage parts of the engine that haven’t had a chance to be thoroughly lubricated with oil like it would be when the engine is warm.

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8. Ignoring Dash Warning Lights

The warning lights on the dash are designed to let drivers know when there is a problem that needs attention. Drivers often shrug off the warnings and continue driving. The problems the car is experiencing can get worse and even lead to severe, costly damage. For example, ignoring the oil light can cause the entire engine to seize up. When any of the dash warning lights become illuminated, the driver should attend to the problem promptly whether that means filling the appropriate car fluids or getting a professional to identify and fix the problem.

9. Changing Gears from Reverse to Drive Without a Complete Stop

You are in a rush and not paying close attention. You back up in your car and switch to drive without stopping completely. Soon, you are frequently rushing through the reverse to drive gear transitions. Failing to stop completely before switching to drive causes damage to the car’s drivetrain. Drivers should make sure they are fully stopped before switching from reverse gear to drive.

10. Carrying Any Extra Weight

When a car is hauling extra weight, the weight impacts the use of fuel as well as components of the car such as the brake, drivetrain, and suspension. If you have heavy items in the boot or backseat or numerous things you always leave in the car, you may want to unload the car and only retain what is needed.

Correcting these damaging habits can do wonders for your car maintenance. It may not be easy at first to stop these habits. As you practice correcting these behaviors, you will find the improved driving habits will become second nature. 

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