Bad driving habits wreck cars

2016-10-25 06:00
 Traffic congestion is one of the main reasons that causes drivers to over use the clutch of their vehicle. PHOTO: wikimedia

Traffic congestion is one of the main reasons that causes drivers to over use the clutch of their vehicle. PHOTO: wikimedia

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Different people drive their cars in different ways. But did you know there are driving habits that are bad for your car?

Do you know that different cars have been designed to make use of different types of fuel, oil, transmission fluid, etc?

Using the incorrect fluids may damage your car’s components as well as voiding your car’s warranty. So next time when topping up at your usual garage, check your owner’s manual before you top up.

According to the AA, the following driving habits are bad for your car.

Excess baggage

Carrying unnecessary weight not only affects fuel consumption but can put extra stress on some components of your car. This is particularly true of smaller cars which were not designed to handle the extra load. The extra weight placed on your car’s suspension may adversely affect the car’s handling (and braking) and lead to prematurely worn out brakes and shocks.

Before loading up, check your weight capacity in the owner’s manual or contact your dealer.

Riding the clutch

This causes the clutch plate to deteriorate prematurely and results in costly clutch failure.

Traffic congestion is one of the primary causes when drivers overuse their clutch. Try to avoid the clutch and rather work with the accelerator and handbrake or brakes to control the car in constant stop and go situations.

Driving with imbalanced wheels and alignment

This leads to excessive wear and tear on the tyre and suspension, shortening their life. This also increases the likelihood of the car’s controls not responding as it should; especially in hazardous conditions.

Tyre inflation pressure

Under-inflated tyres result in more of the tyres’ surface making contact with the road. This causes increased friction which may affect the car’s stopping ability, as well as damage the structural integrity of the tyre itself.

Over-inflating the tyre may lead to less traction while driving, which also affects braking and handling of the car as less of the tyre’s surface is making contact with the road.

Pressure guides are usually placed at the driver’s door. If not, check your user manual for correct inflation pressure.

Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your car ensures that overall performance will continue to remain at optimal conditions. Skipping out may decrease the lifespan of certain components of your car, leading to increased safety risk and potentially voiding the car’s warranty.

Downhill braking

Using the brakes for an increased duration may lead to a phenomena called brake-pad glazing. This is caused when the brake pad is overheated and results in crystallised material on the pad surface and the brake disc. This can cause poor stopping performance, vibration or brake judder, and cracks or fissures in the brake pad material.

Revving a cold engine

For your engine to perform adequately, the fluid must be at operating temperature. Revving your car’s engine before it has had a chance to warm up places unnecessary strain on the engine’s component.

Following distance

Keeping a safe following distance reduces the chances of stones hitting your car, especially your windshield, which may lead to chips and cracks which hinder your visibility.

A safe following distance also ensures your safety by increasing the time for you to react in an emergency. Caution needs to be taken especially around roadworks and construction vehicles carrying sand, stone or other building material.

Not using your handbrake

Whenever you park your car on an incline without using your handbrake you are adding extra strain to your car’s transmission. Many drivers forget to (or choose not to) use their handbrakes; instead simply leaving it in gear. This can be a bad practice as unnecessary strain is placed on the car’s transmission.

ConclusionWith all things considered, the person behind the wheel is responsible for the car they are in control of.

Paying attention to the environment and conditions in which one is operating will, in turn, be the most important part of ensuring that you and your car remain safe and in good condition.

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