Five bad driving habits which are damaging your car

For many of us, our cars are one of the most expensive and precious things we own, often coming second to our houses. For that reason, it is important we look after them properly.

Regular maintenance is very important, but the way in which we drive can have a major impact on how long our vehicles will survive. A healthier vehicle means you can sell your car for more money, and everyone wants that, right?

We have taken a look at five bad driving habits which are hurting your car, which you should nip in the bud if you want your trusty four-wheeled friend to have a long and fruitful life.

  1. Sudden acceleration

Rapidly accelerating when the light turns green will not only use more petrol than a gradual acceleration, but it will also have an effect on the engine, particularly if you are close to the start of your journey.

Suddenly accelerating on a cold engine promotes wear, especially if the weather is cold and the oil is taking longer to reach all areas of the engine. It also puts extra stress on the tires, meaning you will have to replace your tires earlier and more often than you may have liked.

  1. Long warm ups in the winter

Winter is coming (said Ned Stark) and with the colder temperatures comes the inevitable pre-work defrosting of your car. Leaving your car to “warm up” for several minutes whilst idle isn’t very good for your engine, which is why even in the depths of winter, you should not leave your car for more than a minute or two.

What does get the engine warm is to get the vehicle moving at a slow, steady pace and get your heating system blowing warm air around the inside of the vehicle. Just make sure you have removed any ice that may be obstructing your view prior to setting off, to ensure you stay safe.

  1. Letting your fuel level get too low

We’ve all been guilty of driving our cars on the red and rolling into the petrol station in neutral to try and save those last few drops before the car gives up. But repeatedly running your petrol level down until the fuel light comes on is not good for the fuel pump, as it causes it to overheat.

This overheating will cause the fuel pump to wear more quickly, and whilst this isn’t a danger to the car, it will require you to replace the fuel pump earlier than you might have expected.

  1. Tailgating and sharp braking

This is most prominent in stop/start traffic where many of us tend to closely follow the car in front to stop someone else cutting in front. But the repeated accelerating and sudden stopping can play havoc with the brakes.

Braking creates heat, which can eventually lead to warping in the brake rotors. This warping can lead to vibrations which are particularly harmful to steering components and bearings, as they are constantly vibrating.

So not only does this mean you will wear your brakes out and need to replace them more frequently, it can also contribute to repairs needed in the suspension and steering systems. So keep your distance and brake gently; no one likes a tailgater anyway!

  1. Not warming up a turbo

There are more cars out there which have engines fitted with turbochargers, but many people don’t realise that you have to give the turbo a little time to warm up.

Many people put their foot down early on, which damages the fast-spinning turbo. Much in the same way as the winter warm up, you should get off to a slow start and give the oil time to warm up.

Similarly, they need a suitable amount of time to cool down, which means you shouldn’t just race into your driveway and turn the car off. Treat the last few minutes of your drive as a cool down, and your turbo should have a much longer life.