10 Bad Driving Habits That Could Be Damaging Your Car And Costing You
NEW research has revealed some bad driving habits that could be costing car owners thousands. How many do you do?
FROM the moment learners pass their driving test they start picking up bad habits.
Whether it’s crossing your hands when turning or putting your arm on the headrest when parking.
But a breakdown firm has revealed some habits could be costing owners thousands of dollars in repair bills for new clutches, fuel pumps and engines, reports The Sun.
24/7 Home Rescue said millions of motorists are blissfully unaware how their regular routines are harming their vehicles.
Ranjen Gohri, from 24/7 Home Rescue, said: “We all have driving habits — some good, and some bad.
“But in our experience very few understand that the actual way they drive their vehicle can also have a massive impact on its health.”
1. RUNNING THE TANK LOW ON FUEL
Leaving your tank to get dangerously empty allows the dirt, rust and grime that sits at the bottom of it to get sucked into the system, attacking the fuel pump and filters. Fuel also acts as a lubricant and coolant so letting it run dry can increase wear and tear on the pump leading to failure and an expensive replacement.
2. RESTING YOUR HAND ON THE GEARSTICK
Most people let their hand rest on the gear stick while driving but it can be damaging to your gearbox. The lever is attached to a control rod in the gearbox that has selector forks designed only to make contact with gears for a short amount of time.
Leaving your hand resting with a certain amount of force will make the forks rub against the rotating collar causing unnecessary wear.
3. RESTING FOOT ON THE CLUTCH PEDAL
Similarly, resting your foot on the clutch can cause your clutch to engage, especially if your car has a high bite point.
Riding the pressure plate against the clutch causes heat and wear — and new clutches don’t come cheap.
4. REVVING THE ENGINE BEFORE IT’S WARM
Just like athletes, cars need to warm up first. When you start the engine, the oil pump pushes oil around the system and this oil takes time to fully circulate.
Starting up the car and driving straight away is like waking up from a deep sleep, opening your eyes and then immediately trying to do a 100m hurdle race.
You should leave the engine to run for 10 seconds before setting off.
5. DELAYING REGULAR MAINTENANCE
It might be a pain keeping up with services, and expensive, too, but if you don’t you’ll suffer a build up of horrible sludge and burnt oil in your engine.
This muck can block oil galleries and stop the oil protecting your engine, which can result in catastrophic failure.
And when you change the car’s oil, make sure you change the filter, too.
6. IGNORING DASH WARNING LIGHTS
A recent survey found 98 per cent of drivers didn’t really understand the most common dashboard warning lights, such as tyre pressure, engine emissions and fog-light indicators.
You might, wrongly, ignore a message telling you that a bulb had blown.
But ignore one that says ‘DPF’ — aka ‘diesel particulate filter’ — and you might not even get home. Don’t ignore the dash warnings — because your car’s clever computer knows what it’s doing.
7. IGNORING YOUR HANDBRAKE
If you’ve got an automatic car, it might be tempting to simply always leave it in ‘Park’ mode rather than engaging the handbrake.
But doing this puts lots of pressure on one part — a little metal pin called the ‘pawl’, which engages a notched ring that’s attached to the transmission output shaft.
Over a long period of time, abusing the pawl can dislodge or damage it, meaning you might one day leave your house, look frantically for your missing car, only to find it parked at the bottom of a hill.
8. STAMPING ON THE BRAKES
If you’re always on the brakes because you’re driving too close to the car in front you need to back off. Not only is it hugely unsafe but sudden stops cause faster wear to the brake pads and discs.
9. BEING IN TOO HIGH A GEAR
Keeping engine revs low can save fuel but “lugging” — being in too high a gear at too low a speed — actually creates unnecessary strain on the engine and can damage your cylinder heads, leading to expensive repairs.
Similarly, using a low gear that has the engine screaming is going to cause unnecessary wear and tear, too.
10. NOT LETTING YOUR TURBO COOL DOWN
Has your car got a turbocharger? This is a contraption that forces extra air into the combustion chamber and increases power.
And it takes longer to cool down, compared to your engine, when you come to halt.
It’s important you idle the engine for around a minute before switching off in order to make your turbocharger last longer and make sure the bearings don’t break.
Joe Finnerty, 10 Bad Driving Habits That Could Be Damaging Your Car And Costing You, accessed July 22, 2017 4:05pm, http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/10-bad-driving-habits-that-could-be-damaging-your-car-and-costing-you/news-story/cc178c22b1fb8ebd042329121b020ccb
Have Unforgiving Drivers Killed Off The Courtesy Wave
Nothing beats the little rush you feel when a fellow motorist thanks you for a courtesy shown. But in today’s pressure-cooker, time is money, only the tough survive world, are we losing our sense of gratitude on the road?
We’ve all experienced it – the deep disappointment which hits when you go out of your way to help a fellow road user and receive nothing in return. No wave, no nod…zip, zilch, zero.
In fact, giving or receiving a courtesy wave is one of life’s simplest pleasures.
Whether it’s a full, five-fingered hand in the air – Queen Elizabeth-style wrist waggle an option – a ‘reverse high-five’ between the seats or a subtle off-the-wheel finger raise, is irrelevant…it just feels damn good to be appreciated and to show appreciation in return.
But is it just me, or is this gesture losing its popularity? Have we all become so hell-bent on our own needs that we’ve deleted on-road gratitude from the motoring play book?
I tend to be an ‘over thanker’, so this increasing lack of appreciation is really grinding my gears (pun intended). In my travels, I’ve deduced, on average, approximately one in three drivers will thank you for courteous behaviour like letting them down a narrow road, or allowing them to turn right in heavy traffic.
The ‘thankers’ like me tend to be younger people in less fancy cars – but not exclusively.
In my experience, ‘non-thankers’ are usually driving very nice cars or are truck drivers. ‘Non-thankers’ are usually middle-aged or older, but you do get the occasional teenager. Learners on L-plates are excused because they’re often oo busy freaking out over every other element of driving to risk taking their hands from the steering wheel.
Particularly large proportions of ‘non-thankers’ drive Range Rovers and seem to congregate by a private school near my family home. Perhaps they’re so high off the ground they can’t see the little ant (me) letting them through on that very narrow, winding street?
Interestingly, in no State or Territory is the courtesy wave a ‘must-do’ in order to pass your driving test and, thus, some people have very different ideas of when and where it’s appropriate to execute one.
This became clear to me a couple of months ago when I was listening to comedy duo Hamish and Andy’s radio show.
They were discussing a recent incident whereby Andy had let a fellow driver merge, only to be stunned by his lack of response. As part of the segment, they decided to confront the driver in question – Andy had identified him as television personality Steve Vizard.
“Last night driving along I let in a person in a flashy BMW,” Andy recounted.
“It was his job to merge – his lane was dying out and he’d left it late. He’s looking around wondering, ‘how am I going to get in?’ [so] I left a bit of a break for this person.”
Andy said he waited for the classic “left hand between the two seats” thank you he was sure to receive.
“All eyes are on that gap where the rear view mirror is,” his co-host Hamish agreed.
“I was going to give the thumbs up and maybe get a glint in his eye of thanks in the rear vision mirror,” Andy continued.
But, much to Andy’s despair, the wave he was waiting for never came.
“No wave of thanks was forthcoming. I was disappointed,” he told listeners. However, when confronted, Vizard’s take on the incident was entirely different.
“That was so not letting me in, you virtually ran me off the road!” he told a stunned Andy.
“I had to recover my position and I look in my rear vision mirror and there’s this guy smiling!”
It was a hilariously awkward segment but also one which illustrated the vast discrepancies in how people interpret road behaviour.
According to the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), the advent of the courtesy wave can be traced to the very first cars replacing the horse-and-cart on dirt roads, when it was more a wave to recognise achievement between fellow drivers which was “somewhat tribal in nature”.
The RACV driving school still officially recommends a courtesy wave to “disarm potential conflict”, but a spokesperson for the organisation acknowledged it was “diminishing” in frequency.
“The courtesy wave is used between drivers to acknowledge good driver behaviour especially when there is no clear road rule that governs the situation,” the spokesperson explained.
According to the RACV, examples of situations where a courtesy wave would be appropriate include:
>> Passing a parked vehicle in a back street with an opposing vehicle approaching from the opposite direction without sufficient clearance to safely pass and thereby stopping or slowing to allow the other vehicle to pass safely. For this action, it is assumed the driver given a safe and unobstructed passage would acknowledge the behaviour by giving a courtesy wave.
>> When a driver creates a gap for another driver to change lanes and in this case the driver given room to access the lane places their hand to the rear view mirror However, courtesy waves are not expected when there’s a clear give way situation, “such as right turning vehicle giving way to a left turning vehicle,” the spokesperson explained.
I’m not the only one who’s a bit miffed the courtesy wave is dying out and the issue has been an ongoing one.
“The courtesy wave is not optional,” Complex magazine declared in 2013.
“Get your hand off the horn and raise it high for the sake of good driving karma … and remember: It’s five fingers, not one,” a Daily Telegraph article demanded in 2015.
“Many motorists don’t have much trouble sticking one finger in the air when the situation warrants it. How much harder can it be to raise all five?” The Globe and Mail asked in 2011.
My personal opinion? A little appreciation goes a long way. I’d rather be an ‘over-waver’ than an ‘under-waver’. Why not inject a bit of sunshine into someone’s day by giving them a friendly thank you?
And if someone fails to deliver the requisite wave to you, then you have my full permission to give them the one finger salute.
Susannah Guthrie, Have Unforgiving Drivers Killed Off The Courtesy Wave , accessed July 01, 2017, http://www.motoring.com.au/have-unforgiving-drivers-killed-off-the-courtesy-wave-107834/