Is your driving damaging your car?
We all hope we’re good drivers and of course we should be doing our best to take care of our vehicle, as well as keeping up our skills on the road. But, is your driving damaging your car without you realising? Hopefully you’re not guilty of any of these, but if you find they are familiar, it might be worth making some changes to extend the smooth running of your vehicle and avoid an early trip to the repair shop.
Riding the clutch
Let’s face it, we can all immediately think of someone who is guilty of this. Rather than fully disengaging the clutch when changing gear, you let the clutch slip to get going. This action can cause excessive wear on the clutch plates which can shorten the life of the component and will in fact lead to the clutch plates failing. It’s particularly useful to note that your clutch is considered a wear and tear item so it won’t be covered by your new-car warranty in most instances. Definitely worth keeping in tip top condition!
Driving with low fuel
Many of us see the fuel warning light and push the car to the mileage limit before refuelling. Surely the light is just that, a warning, and does not require immediate action? Actually, no. The light comes on when we should re-fuel. Continuing to drive with low fuel means the car takes the fuel from the bottom of the tank where contaminants build up and these can block your fuel filter and could get into the engine. Engines rely on clean, smooth running, so avoid any damage and wherever possible fill up your fuel tank as soon as you can.
Road bumps, pot-holes and cracks
Drivers are reporting an increase in the number of pot-holes on the road and even in well maintained areas, cracks in the tarmac and speed bumps are commonplace. Careless driving around these obstacles can wreak havoc with your car suspension. Not only suspension, you can also expect to do damage to your tyres and, quite possibly to the underside of your vehicle and exhaust if you take bumps and potholes at speed. Similarly if you mount the pavement or a high kerb at the wrong angle, you may be in danger of harming the hub caps, tyres and steering column. All of this is costly to repair or replace, so do take care.
Overloading your vehicle
We’ve all been there, packing the car up for a big road trip, or loading the boot for the dump. Be aware that repeat overloading can have a negative impact on your vehicle. Overloaded vehicles are more difficult to steer, wheels can lose traction and cornering can become challenging. You’ll also be putting too much pressure on the tyres which causes friction and overheating. Continued overheating can cause tyres to blow out and at worst, cause the vehicle to crash. And of course, you could also be doing damage to the car’s suspension with all that extra weight. Ultimately try and stick to an acceptable load (see your car’s manual for advice) and be very aware of the car’s handling.
Resting your hand on the gear stick
If you’re driving a manual car, you might notice that you leave your hand resting on the top of the gear stick in between gear changes. You might be surprised to know that this causes damage, this time to the car’s transmission. The gear stick is connected to a selector fork which should only be in contact with a rotating collar for short periods of time. If you have your hand pressing down on the gearstick for longer, you risk prematurely wearing out the selector fork. Who knew?! Sounds like this one could be pricey too if you have to replace it.
Ignoring warning lights
It’s true that modern cars can often have very complicated dashboards but the general rule of thumb here is, whenever a warning light appears, do something about it. Whether you understand what it means or not, check your manual or better still, stop by a garage and have them check it out. Remember that your car manual should give you enough information to know how serious the warning is. Don’t ignore it and don’t procrastinate – get it looked it as soon as possible.
Over-revving the engine
In most cases revving the engine when you don’t need to is damaging to the car. The more often you rev, the more the pistons act which causes increased friction and can lead to damage to your engine. The same happens if your engine is cold, so be careful to avoid revving until the engine is warmed up.
Tension on your window wipers
You might be familiar with a squeaking noise coming from your wipers and think nothing of it. But actually this is a sign that the wiper blades are having a problem rolling and need their tension adjusted. It could also signal that the wiper blade has lost flexibility. Most rubber wiper blades are attached to a metal frame and trust us, you don’t want to swipe a metal blade back and forth across your screen at high speed. Either way, it’s worth stopping by your local garage or car part retailer and having them take a look before more damage is done.
Abbey Insurance Brokers
Whatever your driving and vehicle needs, we would love to help you with any car insurance questions you might have. Our Abbey experts are available to chat on 08000 66 55 44 or you can request a callback.