Many of us see ourselves as good drivers - whether we’ve had our licence for 2 days or 2 decades. However, it can be said with confidence that we are all guilty of not driving with the best interests of our vehicles in mind. Small everyday things such as not using the parking brake, etc, are some of the causes in reducing the longevity of a vehicle.
While bad habits can often be made light of, they are bad news for fleet owners who may not realise the everyday actions of their drivers are reducing the lives of their vehicles. Additionally these habits also drive up maintenance costs during the life of the vehicle and reduce remarketing value at the end of a vehicles life. For these reasons, (yes we’re about to bang on again about driver education) it is a good idea to educate drivers on combatting these common bad habits so that they can assist you in extending the life and reducing maintenance costs to your vehicle/s.
1) Bad Habit: Not using your handbrake.
Whenever you park on an incline without using your handbrake you are adding extra strain to your car’s transmission. Many people forget to (or choose not to) use their handbrakes; instead simply leave it in gear. This can be a bad practice and can, in turn, ruin the transmission in your vehicle.
Inside your vehicle’s transmission there contains a little pin called a parking pawl; this is the only thing holding your car steady. So not only will using a handbrake relieve the strain on your transmission, but it will also result in adding years to its life. So remember to always use your handbrake next time you park!
2) Bad Habit: Not coming to a complete stop before shifting (for both manual AND automatic).
You’re running late, so you reverse and shift to drive while your car is still coasting backwards. The problem: If you don’t come to a complete stop (for whatever reason) you are asking your transmission to be your brakes which is an enormous amount of strain on such a small device. Also, you can damage the drive shafts (sends power to the wheels) which further results in sloppy suspension handling and worn out transmission.
Always try to come to a complete stop before you shift gears. This way you are less likely to ruin the transmission by straining it with such a tiring task!
3) Bad Habit: Riding the brakes down a hill.
While applying your break constantly when going down a hill may seem like a safe route, it actually isn’t. This is because the heat from riding the brakes will cause the pads to heat up resulting in them wearing out faster.
Try holding off riding your brakes the whole time, instead try alternating between braking and letting go.
4) Bad Habit: Not starting your vehicle the right way.
While it is a good idea to warm up your vehicle, revving your engine is not the right way to go. It can cause acute temperature changes which aren’t good for your vehicle’s engine.
Instead start the engine and wait 30 seconds to a minute for it to heat up. Another good idea is to switch off all accessories; this includes the radio, wipers, or air-con. Most of your engine’s hard work occurs when you start the car - if you turn off all these accessories beforehand your engine won’t have to work as hard.
5) Bad Habit: Ignoring your car’s sounds.
Never ignore your car’s sounds. This usually means your car is not tip-top and you are facing imminent problems if you leave it unresolved for too long.
If you hear your car making an unusual noise, it’s probably trying to tell you there’s something wrong and needs fixing. For example, squeaking brakes means you require new pads. If you ignore that, you’ll hear scraping metal which means you need new rotors.