Ten Annoying Habits That Damage Your Car

by | Oct 10, 2017 | Car Problems & Repairs, Preventative Maintenance

Buying a car is a significant investment. Most people want to make sure their car keeps running and functioning smoothly for as long as possible. To some, a shiny vehicle is merely a few thousand pounds of metal used for commuting while others consider their car as a superhuman extension of their personality. No matter what your vehicle means to you, it is important that you understand that it is like any other machine. Various components of your car will wear out at some point and will, therefore, require repairs.

Some people complain about their vehicle incurring problems even after regular visits to the mechanic. Well, changing the oil, air filters, various drive belts, etc. on time will not do much good for your car if you do not drive your vehicle with care.

Most drivers, including experienced ones, have habits that cause unnecessary wear and tear. If you have any of these driving habits, try correcting them or be prepared for a hefty repair bill.

  1. Carrying unnecessary weight.
    The performance and reliability of your car depend on a number of things, the biggest factor being the weight it carries. Make sure your sleek metal machine is not carrying any unneeded cargo. The lighter you keep your vehicle, the better it will perform. Moreover, there would be less stress on the drivetrain and suspension, therefore, less wear and tear and fewer visits to the repair shop.
  2. Revving immediately after a cold start.
    Getting the engine and engine oil up to a required temperature is necessary before you start moving the car. Starting the car and giving it enough time to distribute the oil throughout the engine block is very important. While this process takes no longer than 30 seconds in summers, it might take up to two minutes in winters. Revving the engine would not speed up the process. In fact, it would cause the temperature to change rapidly, which can damage the tightly fitted components of the engine.
  3. Relying entirely on “P” and ignoring the parking brake.
    The parking pawl or “P” is simply a little ‘finger size’ piece of metal. Most drivers often do not use the parking brake, which allows the entire weight of the car to rest on one little piece of metal in the transmission.
    This not only makes the “P” on the shifter good for nothing over time but also damages various other components in the transmission leading to further complications. Also, the car can get damaged on the outside in case the parking pawl breaks.
  4. Unnecessary flooring.
    The temptation to floor the gas pedal now and then while driving is not a big deal for car enthusiasts. However, a full throttle blast not only burns a whole lot of fuel but also causes the engine to over-rev. Moreover, it causes a significant load and stress on the both the drive train and transmission. Also, the drivers have to hit the brakes hard after the quick release. Hard braking wears out the brake pads and other critical braking components causing even more damage.
  5. Avoiding warning signs.
    Apart from various warning signs that light up inside the meter gauge, you must pay attention to other signs your car shows you. If you feel your car is making any funny noises or weird vibrations, you must make sure you get it checked and repaired immediately. Most of us neglect such signs and keep driving hoping the noises would go away on their own. If not treated on time, chances are things will get worse.
  6. Shifting into drive from reverse or vice versa without stopping.
    We are always in a hurry while driving. While we save nearly 0.5674 seconds by not completely stopping the car and shifting gears to go in the opposite direction, we cause a lot of damage to the transmission because that is simply not how we are supposed to change gears for going in the opposite direction.
  7. Continuously braking while going downhill.
    Using the brakes while driving down a steep slope generates immense amount friction causing the brake pads and rotor to heat up to a dangerous level. This causes the brakes to wear out faster, hence increasing the chance of brake failure. Switching to a lower gear while going down a steep slope helps you control the speed without braking and enhances handling.
  8. Leaving the car dirty.
    Most of us are so busy in our lives that we barely get time to get our cars cleaned. Dust, water droplets, mud and airborne contaminants stick onto the car and damage the paint. Things become even worse when the pollutants enter the various parts of the engine. It not only causes blockages but also leads to rust. You can pay a visit to the car wash or clean it yourself every once in a while.
  9. Resting your hand on the shift stick.
    Most of us driving cars with manual shift sticks usually have one hand on the wheel and one on the shifter. While this is a bit convenient for us, it puts a strain on the various components of the manual transmission, which leads to premature wear.
  10. Running low on gas.
    Keeping the fuel tank full most of the time is not something most drivers do. Driving on a small amount of fuel causes the fuel pump to wear out quickly and leads to bad mileage. This is because when there is the right amount of fuel in the tank, the fuel pump stays submerged in it, which allows it to stay cool. As soon as it is exposed to the air inside the tank, it starts to heat up.

These bad habits can be difficult to overcome. However, if you want your car to last as long as possible, you will have to make sure you avoid these habits. Plus, imagine the money you will save by ridding yourself of these habits.

image courtesy of Nate Griggs


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.