10 ways you are unknowingly damaging your car

 ·30 Apr 2016

You’ve paid a small fortune for your wheels and generally treat it with the TLC it deserves.

You clean it once a week, feed it oil every 8000km’s or so, avoid grinding your gears and keep your tyres well aligned. But are you unknowingly damaging your car?

“Did you know that shifting into gear while your car is reversing can add months of wear and tear to your transmission? If not, you’re not alone,” says Kerry Cassel, Managing Director of MotorHappy.

“Many motorists have adopted seemingly innocent and unintentional bad driving habits that can ultimately damage their car – and their wallet.”

These are 10 things you may be doing that’s damaging your car:

1. Riding your brakes on a downhill

While riding your brakes down a steep incline may make you feel safer, you may end up with no brakes at all – brake failure – due to continuously grinding your brake pads. To avoid this scenario, rather gear down to control your speed.

2. Stopping and starting suddenly

Avoid slamming your brakes unnecessarily. Not only does doing so increase your fuel consumption but it can also cause your brake pads and rotors to deteriorate. With this in mind, it is important to keep a safe following distance of about two to three seconds from the car in from of you, this is the advised measure when driving in normal conditions.

This following distance should be increased to about five to six seconds in bad conditions such as when driving at night, on slippery roads, or in the rain.

3. Using your handbrake as a hand rest

The weight of your hand can actually affect the sliders in your handbrake and cause unnecessary wear and tear. In other words – hands off!

4. Carrying a heavy load

Lugging unnecessary baggage around in your car not only affects your fuel consumption but can put extra stress on some of your car’s components too.

5. Riding your clutch

Do you keep your car still at a traffic light using the clutch and accelerator instead of using your handbrake or brakes? Riding your clutch causes the clutch plate to slip forward and age prematurely and is the quickest route to costly clutch failure.

6. Not warming up

On cold days, most motorists don’t let their car’s engine idle for a few minutes before jetting off. This isn’t a good idea as it forces the engine to work too hard before the oil has had a chance to fully circulate. Instead, turn your engine on, wait 60 seconds, and then drive the car until it warms up without working it too hard.

7. Speeding

Not only is speeding illegal and one of the most cited reasons for car accidents, but it has terrible consequences for your car’s engine too.

8. Accelerating too slowly

Some motorists have a tendency to pull away from a traffic light at a snail’s pace. The problem is that accelerating too slowly can cause your car to use more fuel. It’s better to get to cruising speed as soon as possible but don’t accelerate too quickly either.

9. Unnecessarily revving your engine

There’s absolutely no point to revving your engine unless you want attention. It wastes fuel, wears your engine more rapidly and, if you’re doing it first thing in the morning, wear and tear on your engine is fast-tracked because the oil isn’t circulating fully.

10. Delaying regular car maintenance

It’s crucially important to service your car in line with your car manufacturer’s guidelines. Not only does regular servicing keep your car running optimally, but it protects some of its major (expensive to replace) components from becoming damaged or failing completely.

What’s more, regular maintenance keeps you safe on the road as it ensures that your car’s critical safety components are in working order. Remember to also always check that your tyres are in perfect condition.

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