Do you feel that your car maintenance is getting costlier every year? Do you think you are visiting the mechanic more often than it should be, knowing that no major damages were happening? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then you should reconsider your driving habits. Yes! Your driving habits.
We all have developed few habits over a lifetime of driving that might seem harmless, yet it can secretly pose a safety risk that could cause permanent damages on our cars!
So, here are seven common driving habits you should avoid to save your car from an early retirement.
1. Resting Your Hand On The Gear Stick:
We all want to look cool while driving, as if we have everything under control. But did you know that resting your hand on the gear stick can be bad for your transmission?
The gear stick is connected to a selector fork [known as shift fork], that is designed to make contact with a rotating shift collar for a short amount of time to select the needed gear.
When resting your hand on the gear stick, you risk applying pressure to the selector fork and other internal gearbox components, causing premature wear, which could also lead to noisy gears and failure to select the needed gear smoothly.
2. Speed Shifting From Drive to Reverse Without Stopping (& Vice Versa):
If you think shifting from drive to reverse will make you the master of driving hacks or even save a few minutes of your time, then you should be prepared for the damages that will be resulted.
Doing this will send your car conflicting signals. Given the forces involved in turning the car's main mechanical components in the opposite direction to which the car is heading, it's a bad idea to do this in any vehicle.
The transmission relies heavily on the brakes to stop the motion of the car to ensure a seamless transition between gears, as it's not designed to stop the car and switch gears simultaneously.
Quickly shifting before stopping will cause wear and tear on the transmission band, clutch, and gearbox mountings, as it will start having issues selecting the correct gear ratio, resulting in an unpleasant gear change.
3. Ignoring The Parking Brakes:
While your car's parking brake is a lifesaver in a sloping parking spot, there's no good reason to abandon it when you're parked on a flat surface.
Although the transmission can securely park your car, your parking brake is the only thing in the car that is designed to lock the wheels in their place.
When you ignore engaging the parking brakes, you risk putting the entire vehicle weight on the parking pawl, a small finger sized piece of metal, that is bound to wear the part.
So no matter where you park and for how long, remember to engage the parking brakes to limit the stress on your transmission and on other parts of the car.
4. Racing Over Speed Bumps:
As the name suggests, speed bumps are designed to make you control your speed and slow you down. Failing to do so will leave your car with some serious damages to the cars’ steering system, suspensions, wheel alignment, and the tires.
Speed bumps are there for a reason, and racing over them will raise the risks to you, your car and other road users. So reducing your speed when approaching the speed bump is always a good idea!
5. Slamming Into Potholes:
Although some roads might have more pothole problems than others, potholes are out there and can be found at any road you may hit!
Other than getting a bumpy ride, hitting those potholes can damage your car’s suspension, steering, and alignment.
Stay alert and try to avoid them. If hitting one is out of your choice, slow down to minimize the impact and the potential damage.
6. Letting Your Fuel Tank Run On Empty:
Even when you think that what is left of fuel in your tank can get you around, you should always expect that your car might stop in the middle of the road, as it depends on current road and driving conditions!
Your fuel acts as a coolant to your fueling system, as running low on fuel can cause parts, such as the fuel pump, fuel system, and catalytic converter to overheat and malfunction.
Not only that, but it will also let your engine pick up the dirt from the bottom of the tank causing increased wear and tear to the pump, leading to failure, and eventually an expensive replacement.
7. Ignoring Your Dashboard Lights:
If you are really concerned about your car's health, look out for the warning symbols that you see on your dashboard, as they are there for a reason.
Some symbols such as ‘washer fluid’ or ‘bulb monitoring’ can be ignored until you get a chance to stop, but others need to be investigated at the nearest opportunity.
Ignoring these warning symbols, which are there to alert you to a potential problem, can leave you stranded or cause further costly damage.
So remember the traffic light signal pattern, as each reveals the severity of the situation. Don't make ignoring these symbols a habit, if you see one goes on, act at once!