Your vehicle is easily one of your most expensive possessions and one of which you heavily rely. It is something you want to make last for as long as possible and take extra good care of. Even if you are meticulous at having routine maintenance performed, certain day-to-day driving habits could cause your vehicle to consume too much fuel, cause damage, and accelerate its need for maintenance and repairs.
This is our list of 10 driving habits that damage your car:
1. Driving On Empty
When you do this you make your car draw its fuel from the very bottom of the tank— which is where all of the sediments in the gasoline settle. So your car is forced to use the dirtiest gas in its tank for fuel. This dirt can clog your fuel filter, and in some cases slip past it into your engine. If it does get into the engine, it has the potential to do some real damage. It is suggested that you always keep at least a half tank of fuel.
2. Revving the Engine
Revving puts unnecessary strain on your engine. It is especially bad for an engine that is still cool. When an engine is first started, the oil is still cool and down in the oil pan. All of the metal parts that move when you rev your engine are not yet properly lubricated when you initially start your car and revving will lead to premature wear. After you start your car, you should allow it to warm up for a minute or two before easing into reverse or drive. Avoid driving moves that are aggressive. Engine revving also uses fuel for absolutely no reason.
3. Shifting into Drive or Reverse When Not Completely Stopped
Everyone is guilty of this at least once, you roll out of your driveway and pop your car into drive while you are still rolling backwards. If you are a once or twice offender, you are probably fine, but if it is something you do regularly you are being way too rough on your car. Doing this puts stress on your entire drive train. Do this too many times and you may find yourself needing to replace your U-joints. It also has the possibility of damaging your transmission, and those repairs can be really costly. Always stop before putting your car into drive or reverse.
4. Sudden Acceleration and Braking
Flooring your accelerator when the light turns green wastes gas and puts strain on your vehicle, and stopping abruptly will accelerate the wear on your brakes. The smoother you drive the longer everything is going to last. Letting your car coast to a stop is one way to improve your gas mileage.
5. Not Slowing for Speed Bumps or Potholes
Failing to slow your car and driving straight over one of these could do some damage to your vehicle. Your suspension and shocks are being jolted around unnecessarily and their life span could be severely shortened. This could also lead to other damage to your vehicle’s undercarriage. You’ll really notice that some damage has been done once the shock absorbers and springs start to go. The ride becomes very rough and your car handles poorly. Not slowing for speed bumps could damage your exhaust system as it hangs lower and risks hitting the bump. The whole point of a speed bump is to get us to slow down, so they should not be ignored. It is also possible to take a chunk out of your tire if you hit a pothole or manhole cover hard enough, which could lead to a blow out.
6. Ignoring Your Tires
Tires are often the most neglected part on a vehicle, which is kind of scary as they are critical parts of steering and braking. You should be checking your tires as often as you check your oil. Around every five to six thousand miles. Make it a habit to do both at the same time. The most common mistake is underinflated tires. A car doesn’t handle or respond the way it should when tires are not properly inflated. Your gas mileage is lowered by up to 15 percent, and you reduce the life of your tires by about 15 percent or more. Also, to help your tires last longer, don’t forget to rotate them at least twice a year. Rotating tires prevents uneven wear.
7. Riding the Brakes
Even just the smallest amount of pressure on the brakes can cause the pads to come into contact with the rotors and drums. Constantly applying any sort of pressure to the brake builds up heat which diminishes the braking capacity of the system. It also wears out the brake pads, rotors, and/or drums at an accelerated rate. Try to not touch your brakes until you need them, riding with your foot on the brake “in case something happens” is actually putting you at risk of having them fail when you really do need them. Anticipate stops and begin to slow your car simply by easing your foot off of the accelerator to help prolong the life of your brakes.
8. Parking Incorrectly
Have you ever seen someone use the curb or concrete barrier to determine if they were fully in a parking spot? Have you done this yourself? Well if you hit that concrete barrier, you have gone too far. If you leave it there or pull back abruptly you can hurt your car. The barriers are at the perfect height to scrape against or even pull off the car’s front spoiler, and leaving your car parked pressed up against the curb puts a huge strain on your suspension system. It also causes wear on your tires. If you pull into a spot and feel your tires hit concrete, pull back gently. Put your car in neutral and ease your foot off the brake allowing the car to ease back on its own.
9. Parking Improperly On a Hill
When you park on a hill and just put the transmission in park, the weight of the car rests against the transmission once you take your foot off the brake. This can be extremely damaging to your transmission. Once you are in your spot, keep your foot firmly on the brake and shift into neutral then set the parking brake. Then slowly remove your foot from the brake to let the car settle against the parking brake then shift into park. When you do this, most of the cars weight is resting against the parking brake – rather than the transmission – reducing wear and the potential of costly repairs.
10. Carrying Too Many Items
Over packing your car makes it work too hard. The more weight your car is carrying, the more fuel it burns and the more wear you put on the mechanical components responsible for setting it into motion and stopping it again. Only transport the necessities and never haul a bigger load than recommended for your vehicle.
Don’t just trust anyone with your auto repair services, if you suspect that there is a problem with your vehicle, or you are in need of routine maintenance, give the experts at Meridian Automotive a call today (208) 297-5573, or schedule an appointment online.