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The less known things that can ruin your car

We already know how important regular oil changes, tire rotations, and regularly checking tire pressures and brakes.  These are well known essential for keeping our beloved car running smoothly and reliably for many years. Perhaps we keep track of the scheduled maintenance tasksto ensure that we don't forget on those important maintenance works.   But good maintenance is only one part of the longevity equation.  The way we drive also has a big impact on the life of our cars and its components.  Bad driving habits can also do major damage to our cars. If left unchecked, these bad habits can lead to costly repairs or replacements that could have otherwise been avoided.

These are less known bad driving habits that can cause major damage to your car:

1.The habit of  keeping a small amount of  fuel in the tank: Yes our budget commands how much gas we put in our tanks.  The "budget meal  drivers" normally just put a few liters and refill with the same few liters all the time. This is a less known fact that fuel tanks get easily corroded if little fuel is inside, as moisture can easily built up. This can lead to costly repairs further down the road as rust will find its way to the fuel lines and injectors system. Keeping your gas tank at least a third full helps prevent this.

2.Riding the clutch: Playing around with the clutch while waiting for the green light. All that time spent waiting with the clutch semi engaged damages the pressure plate, release bearing, and release arm not to mention the lining. Another way would be leaving your foot on the clutch while driving.  This is what we call "clutch-riding". Riding the clutch causes its surfaces graze against each other, wearing them down faster. Engage the clutch only while starting, or changing gears.

3.Engaging on drive while the car is still moving backwards. Or engaging reverse while the car is still coasting forward.  These habits will put a strain on the gears of the gearbox and will lead to a gearbox failure. Best thing to do is to do a full stop from reverse to drive and vice-versa. If you're driving a manual, make a full stop and don't be lazy on the clutch. Engage reverse or  first gear with clutch fully depressed.

4.Revving the engine during fresh starts: It's not a bad idea to let the engine idle for a minute after a cold start. This helps it warm up and gives the oil some time to circulate. However, you should resist the urge to rev the engine during this time. Sure, the exhaust sounds great, but revving it when it's cold causes undue wear on parts of the engine that haven't been lubricated by thorough oil circulation. Your engine revs more smoothly, once its oil circulated thoroughly.

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5.Dragging the brakes downhill instead of  engine braking: Driving down a steep hill can be daunting, so you rest your foot on the brake pedal to be ready to brake at a moment's notice. This habit causes strain on the brakes as it heats up the components, wearing them out prematurely.  Instead of dragging the brakes, you should shift into a lower gear when you're driving downhill. This will cause engine braking, which helps slow the car down naturally. You'll find that engine braking can be as effective as regular braking in maintaining your downhill speed.

6.Rabbit starts and stops: I don't know if this is less known but it surely is damaging to the car.  Rabbit starts can be fun, but uses significantly more fuel, clutch and tires than stating gradually. Sudden stops are also damaging, causing faster wear to the brake pads and rotors. Looking ahead, anticipating, and pressing on the pedals smoothly is the best strategy.

7.Not using the hand brake while parking or forgetting to disengage it when driving: Neglecting to use the parking brake forces the entire weight of your vehicle to rest on the transmission gears. Doing this could cause the transmission gears to wear out. Forgetting to disengage the parking brakes or handbrakes while driving on the other hand will wear out the brakes easily.

8.Ignoring warning signs: It's easy to ignore those little squeaks, intermittent rattles, other unusual noises your car makes or even check engine lights. Those sounds are warning signs that something's wearing out or about to go wrong. Lights on the dash also indicate a certain warning.  Don't wait to find out the cause of the noise, or it may go at the worst possible time. If your car is making strange sounds or giving you other warning signs, have it inspected the soonest.

Some of these habits, I'm sure, are still being done even by experienced drivers. A habit after all is an involuntary behavioral pattern that can be hard to break.  So if you catch yourself doing any of  these damaging habits, remember this saying, " A bad habit is like a flat tire, you can't drive unless you fix it."

lord_seno@yahoo.com

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