You may secretly be damaging your car, and won’t find out until it’s too late! Yes, it’s true that you could be doing things to your car that will lead to expensive repairs or a dangerous situation on the roads. These bad driving habits fly under the radar, and many drivers don’t even realize they are a problem. Today, we’re going to help you save your car from unnecessary damage!
Forgetting Your Parking Brake
There are two kinds of drivers – those that use the parking brake, and those who don’t know where it is in their car. The parking brake seems like an unnecessary element of the vehicle, but its purpose is important. When you don’t use the parking brake, you put all the weight of your car on a small piece of metal about the size of a finger, called the ‘parking pawl’. While durable, the parking pawl can break down over time if over-stressed. Your parking brake evens the load, taking the pressure off that one piece.
Your Empty Gas Tank is Damaging Your Car
We get it – gas is expensive, and if you run the car near empty the price may drop tomorrow. But when you run the tank on low gasoline, the fuel pump is exposed. The gasoline acts as a lubricant for it, so when there’s little gas it heats up. The more this happens, the higher chance it can break down or get damaged. As such, you never want your gas levels to drop below 1/4.
While a sudden stop is sometimes necessary to avoid a collision, you should generally avoid them in normal situations. A hard stop is where you aggressively activate the brake, rather than a gradual smooth press. Hard stops damage the brake pads as well as the rotors.
Revving a Cold Engine
It’s the dead of winter, and some rev the engine to help it heat up faster. Wrong choice! A car is a lot more like the human body than it is some magical ‘go’ machine. You need to let a car warm up before you do anything. This means allowing the oil pump to fully circulate oil through the system, which can take anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds.
Shifting to Drive from Reverse
You back out of a parking spot and are ready to proceed out of a parking garage. What do you do? Most people switch from reverse to drive but it’s the wrong thing to do! Doing this is damaging the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Instead, the correct way to do this is back up, come to a full stop, then switch the car into drive.
If your car is working, you don’t NEED to go in for regular maintenance, right? Or at the very least you can put it off for a bit surely? NOPE! The worst thing you can do to your car is waiting for something to be wrong before getting it serviced. So, plan regular maintenance checks on the vehicle and don’t skip them. You’ll save money in the long run by catching damaged components BEFORE they break.
You come to a perfect stretch of the road, there are no cars and the conditions are clear. What better time to try out the full-throttle of your vehicle! While this is generally okay (if you are safe), doing this too often is damaging to your car. It places a lot of pressure on the drivetrain when you do this. But, worse is the damage that often comes with full-throttle driving – a hard stop.
Overloading the Trunk
The more you load into a vehicle, the more stress it puts on it. Brakes, suspension, and drivetrain are often overstressed when you use your vehicle as a hauler. Occasionally overloading it for vacations or moving is fine, but a car works best when you keep it as close to the stock weight as possible.