Whether you are a novice or a long-term driver, it is undeniable that there are driving habits that can damage your car and affect your finances in the long run. You might be doing some things that could speed up the wear of various components or negatively affect the efficiency of fuel consumption. Worst, these habits can also compromise your safety.
Do you want to improve the way you drive? This post has got you covered, as I will provide some valuable insights that are sure to help you. Below, you will see the 7 driving habits that ruin your car and drain your wallet.
- Resting your Hand on the Gear Stick
- Refueling only When the Tank is Almost Empty
- Frequent Braking
- Ignoring Suspicious Sounds
- Neglecting to Use the Hand Brake
- Running a Cold Engine at High Revs
- Keeping your Foot on the Brake While Driving Downhill
To begin with, here is a short video that will provide a quick summary of the things that will be mentioned below.
1. Resting your Hand on the Gear Stick
One of the most important things to remember is that you should never ever rest your hand while on the gearstick. While many would drive with their two hands holding the steering wheel, many are also guilty of feeling too lazy and keeping the other hand stable on the shifter. It might seem like a harmless act, but do you know that it can cause damage to the transmission?
It seems like the pressure that you are exerting on the gearbox is only minimal. When done frequently, however, this could have significant effects. It will result in the displacement of synchronizers and gears. Essentially, if you hold too long, it is as if you are shaking some of the components that cannot be seen from the inside of your car. This will cause damage to the shifting gears, whether your car has an automatic or manual transmission.
2. Refueling only When the Tank is Almost Empty
Another habit that you need to ditch is letting the fuel tank run empty. When the tank is filled, the sediments will settle at the bottom. Therefore, when the gas level is already low, you are forcing the car to use fuel that is already filled with sediments or dirt. It can reach the engine, which, in turn, can scar the latter and will have a negative impact on the performance of the car.
Now that you know that you should not wait for the tank to run empty, the next question would most probably deal with when you need to have it refueled. As much as possible, you have to refuel your car when it is only 33% full. On the other hand, in the winter season, it is best to keep the tank always half-filled.
3. Frequent Braking
Many drivers are guilty of making unnecessary brakes when they are driving, especially those who are always afraid that they might hit what is in front of them. This, however, is another detrimental habit as this could lead to the frequent need for replacing brake pads and discs because they are often subjected to pressure that could speed up their wear.
Braking is a skill that you need to learn. It is one thing that can be acquired and improved through time as you have longer driving experience. You need to learn the proper braking techniques, which are discussed in the short video that has been shown at the beginning of this article. Following these steps can help you save a lot of money and headache in the future while being assured of your safety on the road.
4. Ignoring Suspicious Sounds
If you hear an annoying or weird sound, you should not ignore it. This is one of the obvious signs that there is a malfunction, which can escalate if it is not given attention as soon as possible. In most cases, these sounds may not indicate harm. Nonetheless, you have to pull over as soon as possible and perform a quick inspection. If the sound persists, it is better to consult with a mechanic.
Different noises can mean different problems. For instance, if there is a high-pitched squeal that disappears upon shutting down the engine, it could be a problem with the belt. If the weird sound continues even when the engine is off, the rubber gasket in the radiator pressure cap can be the issue. If there is a whistle from under the hood, look at the vacuum hose. If there is an offbeat rhythm accompanied by an idling engine, it is possible that it is misfiring.
5. Neglecting to Use the Hand Brake
If you have a car with automatic transmission and if you park it in an area with a slope, the lock gear can undergo stress. If you are parking on an incline, hold the footbrake, shift to park, and pull the handbrake. It is only at this point that you have to release the brake, but you need to do it slowly. This will help immobilize the car.
By using the handbrake every day, there are many problems that you can avoid. For instance, it can prevent the car from rolling away and from having significant damage or causing damage to other cars. This can also prevent the car from being stuck on the brake, especially if the car has been parked for an extended period. It also protects the transmission.
6. Running a Cold Engine at High Revs
In the case of most modern cars with newly-designed engines, there is no more need for warming up before you drive. However, one important thing to do is to look at the gauge and wait until the operating temperature is reached before running the engine at 2,000 revs. On the other hand, if you live in an area with freezing temperatures, wait for one to two minutes before running the car.
Some people would say that warming up will be a waste of money, basically because it increases your fuel consumption. It can also create emissions that are bad for the environment. However, with modern systems, these negative impacts can be minimized or eliminated. Warming up is necessary to prep your engine for a drive.
7. Keeping your Foot on the Brake While Driving Downhill
If you are driving downhill, one thing that you most probably do all the time is to keep your foot engaged on the brake. This is so that you will be able to stop at any point it is required to do so. However, this is one thing that you should avoid. This will make the brake pads deteriorate more quickly. This can also lead to overheating of the braking system.
Instead of keeping your foot on the brake, it is recommended that you shift to a lower gear and follow it up with engine braking. This will reduce the use of brakes. The speed of the engine will be reduced, which will also make the vehicle run slower. You will hear a noticeable noise, but do not be scared. This is actually normal.
No one is born a driver. It is a skill that is harnessed through time. A lot of us are surely guilty of making some mistakes. That being said, I hope that the discussions above on the 7 driving habits that ruin your car and drain your wallet can help you to improve and become a better driver!