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Bad driving habits that could be damaging your car

  • Bad driving habits that could be damaging your car

If you’ve been driving for a while, it’s likely that you’ve developed your own style of motoring, including a few quirks that you’re probably not even conscious of. It’s important to know if the habits you’ve fallen into are likely to damage your car before they cause damage to your wallet! 

Riding the clutch 

If you wanted to wear your clutch out quickly, failing to take your foot off the pedal after changing gear would be the way to do it! Riding the clutch shortens the life of the plate, so once you’ve changed gear, ensure your foot has left the clutch pedal, using the footrest if you’ve got one. 

Late braking 

Emergency stops can be lifesaving, but consistently braking late puts strain on your pads and discs, which is a safety concern as well as a financial one! Read the road ahead and respond accordingly, ensuring you leave plenty of time to brake when you need to. 

Hitting bumps and potholes 

Particularly in winter, UK roads are notoriously prone to potholes, and hitting one of them could cause damage to your tyres, suspension and wheel alignment. The same goes for those speed humps that you often find on residential roads; slow down when approaching those! 

Resting your hand on the gearstick 

Whilst it might feel comfortable, putting pressure on the gearstick like this puts the selector fork and rotator collar in constant contact which, over time, can lead to wear and tear. They should only meet when you change gear. 

Shifting into reverse before the car has stopped

Regardless of whether your car is manual or automatic, the car should have been brought to a stop before you shift into reverse, as failing to do so can damage the transmission - and fixes to the transmission aren’t cheap! 

Riding the brake  

Keeping your foot on the brake instead of using your gears as much as possible to slow down can damage your braking system by overheating it, and speed up the wear and tear of the brake components. 

Revving the engine when it’s cold 

Revving your vehicle until it’s had the chance to warm up can cause undue wear and tear on your engine, as the oil hasn’t yet circulated properly. It’s therefore a good idea to take it easy for the first 15 minutes or so of your drive when the engine is cold. 

Ignoring warning lights 

We’ve all seen a light flash up on our dashboard and wondered whether to heed the warning, but when they appear, it’s best not to stick your head in the sand. Consult your vehicle’s handbook for the next steps, and remember to get your vehicle regularly serviced to avoid warning lights as much as possible.  

Overloading your vehicle 

The heavier your vehicle, the more strain it puts on your brakes and suspension, and extra weight has a detrimental effect on your fuel economy too. It’s also an offence to exceed your vehicle’s maximum load weight, so if you regularly travel with lots of cargo, it’s worth knowing this limit and sticking to it to avoid a fine and penalty points!