Driving a car is equal parts privilege and responsibility. For first-time vehicle owners, that means making sure your priced purchase stays in tiptop shape and get the car running for as long as possible.
Caring for your new ride starts the moment you drive it out of the dealership. Below are some rookie mistakes committed by car owners old and new alike that can hurt your vehicle badly.
1. Not using the handbrake when parking on incline.
People who drive automatic think that putting their cars in park mode when they’re parking on incline is enough. But this habit is dangerous and can break an important part of your gearbox.
When you put your car in park mode, a part called parking pawl locks up your transmission. This part, which is just as big as your pinky, gets all the weight of the vehicle; a little movement while it locks the gearbox can cause it to malfunction or even break, causing your car to roll downhill.
2. Driving low on fuel.
Most people think that the low fuel icon on their dashboard is just there to remind them to gas up. But keeping your gas tank filled can also prolong your car’s lifespan.
The fuel pump performs at its best when it’s lubricated by, well, fuel. The more you run your cars on fumes, the less protection it gets. The hotter it gets, the faster it wears out.
In addition, you prevent gas sediments from clogging your fuel filter when you keep them afloat with gas.
3. Revving your engine.
Those who grew up in their Gran Turismo or Need for Speed may have the developed the habit of making their machines roar while on starting position.
But in real life, flooring your accelerator while on halt is not only tacky and annoying, it’s a waste of precious gasoline. It also puts a lot of strain on your engine.
Pumping gas on your engine while on park mode creates unnecessary friction between the engine’s piston and cylinder walls.
4. Starting and stopping abruptly.
Driving smoothly isn’t all about riding your car in comfort and style. The more adept you become at starting and stopping, the less pressure you put on your car’s engine and brake system.
All those sudden pedal actions merely strain your car, especially that hard stops can burn through your brake pads quickly. In addition, not driving smoothly can cause loss of traction or an even increased risk of getting into a car accident.
5. Resting your hand on the shifting.
You probably see it a lot in car movies, but resting your hand on the gear stick only puts unwanted pressure on the slider and the gear selector, causing it to wear down prematurely.
On the contrary, driving with both hands on the steering wheel gives you more control and less distractions.
6. Stressing your car in its break-in period.
“Break-in” doesn’t mean flogging the car and pushing it beyond its full capabilities. Instead of gearing up your car for years of enduring traffic jams and sudden stops, that would prematurely shorten its lifespan.
A few additional kilometers and time with your ride won’t hurt, but driving your car like the Stig straight out of the dealership won’t do you any good.