I will be the first to admit I have habits when it comes to driving, some good and some bad. But do these habits affect my car’s performance or reliability? Yes,quite possibly and below we have 8 habits that can damage your car. Driving Habit #1: Delaying regular maintenance Google regular maintenance and you will find endless results of people arguing what they would consider the correct intervals to service your car. The truth is every car is different and that you should refer to your owners manual which has all the servicing information needed. We generally let a sigh when that red service lights pops up on the dash. This is because it normally means another few bob to be spent on the car. At the end of the day it’s something that needs to be done and not doing so will result in a buildup of sludge and burnt oil in your engine. The sludge and burnt oil can block oil galleries and stop oil protecting your engine resulting in one big failure and the massive repair bill. It’s not only oil you need to change regularly, ignoring filter can also affect how the car performs on a day to day basis, Check our guide do your filters need replacing? Driving Habit #2: Ignoring dash warning lights The dashboard is full of information in terms of lights and signs, 99% of motorists don’t have a clue what they mean, we did a guide to some of the most common dash lights and what they mean. The issue with dash lights is that apart from being amber and red your average Joe isn’t aware what sort of damage it could be doing to your vehicle if you choose to ignore the lights. Here is an example, Take a bulb warning light on your dash, it shows up red on your dash and you know you need to change it but it’s not going to cause the car to stop working or cost you four figures to repair if you do not replace the bulb, if anything it will cost a couple of euro to fix and remove the light from the dash. On the other had a red light pops up on your car with DPF as a display. You think nothing of it because that last red light came on didn’t do any damage right? Wrong!! This is a warning sign to tell you to regenerate the DPF filter in your car. If you don’t it will cause the car to slow down and go into limp mode. It’s possible that it could leave you on the side of the road as well as a hefty repair bill if not looked after. To learn more about DPF’s you can read DPF’s explained. Driving Habit #3: Putting off tire replacement Tyre’s can be very expensive to replace and are often another bill to add to the yearly bill’s of tax, fuel and insurance. Tyre’s are the only thing between you are your car that is keeping you on the road. Not having good Tyre’s on your vehicle is a recipe for disaster, your braking ability, cornering ability and traction is greatly reduced. The real damage comes when you don’t change that one Tyre you know you that should have been replaced lets you down and causes the car to leave the road and leave you with the expensive bodywork repair bill or worse no car at all. Don’t leave this too last minute and replace your Tyre’s today. Driving Habit #4: Running the tank low on fuel As humans we all love a challenge, the car is telling me I’ve 10kms to go until empty, and the nearest fuel station is 20kms away-Challenge accepted. We know sometimes you can’t afford to fill the tank so you scrape whatever coins you have to get you to and from work until payday arrives. The issue with running your vehicle low on fuel is that it allows the dirt rust and grime that sits at the bottom of your fuel tank to get sucked in, which then attacks the fuel pump and filters. Fuel helps the fuel pump by cooling it and providing constant lubrication as the pump works. Letting the fuel go low takes this away causing the fuel pump to stop working and needed replacement. Fuel pumps are expensive to replace and labor intensive, to add fuel(or lack of fuel) to the fire, a failed fuel pump will leave you stuck on the side of the road. Driving Habit #5: Revving the engine before it’s warm Ever try to do exercise without doing the warm up first? Chances are you wear out faster and will get injured. The exact same theory can be applied to your engine. When you start the engine the oil pump pushes the oil around the engine, oil takes time to fully circulate around the engine so starting up the car and driving straight away is like getting kicked out of bed and told to start running. Leave the engine run for 10 seconds or and allow the oil to get around. The same can be said for oil temperature. When you see the temperature gauge on the dashboard rise this is only the coolant/water temperature of the engine and not of the oil. Leave the car run for a bit of time before you decide to rev the engine to the red-line. Driving Habit #6: Resting your hand on the gear shifter Do you rest your hand on the gear stick while driving? Did you know this habit could be damaging your transmission. Sounds silly we know but this is how it could be affecting your transmission. If you follow your gear stick into the gearbox you will meet a control rod that has selector forks which is shared by two gears. The selector fork is designed to apply a force to the rotating collar of the dog clutch which is pushed up against the gear.This selector fork is designed to only make contact for a short amount of time. Sit your hand on the gear stick with a certain force and you will end up forcing the selector fork against the rotating collar,resulting in unnecessary wear. Avoid resting on your gear stick and fit a armrest into your car Driving Habit #7: Rest your foot on the clutch pedal Riding the clutch is a term you would remember from the days of learning how to drive, you could still be doing it without evening realising it. Resting your foot on the clutch pedal while driving could mean you are engaging your clutch ever so slightly while driving. Resting your foot on the pedal causes the release bearing to ride against the pressure plate, which presses ever so slightly onto the clutch. This causes the clutch disc to heat and ultimately wear. So to save yourself a large bill take that foot off the pedal while driving. If you have found yourself needing a clutch we do sell them here Driving Habit #8: Ignoring the parking brake This mostly applies to people who drive automatic vehicles.The parking brake or handbrake should be used every time that you park your vehicle. Yes you are correcting in saying that the car doesn’t move when left in “P” but do you realise that you are putting a lot of pressure on one part? Meet Pawl- He is the little metal pawl(or pin) that engages a notched ring that is attached to the transmission output shaft. When engaged, the pawl restricts the transmission output shaft from turning and keeping your car stationary. Not using the handbrake can cause this pin to become dislodged or damaged resulting your vehicle making it’s way down the street. You can avoid all of this by applying the handbrake at all times-They were invented for a reason after all. So how many of our 8 habits do you have?