8 Ways You Unwittingly Damage Your Car

Being a good car owner can be daunting. Just like a good parent, there are certain things you need to always keep in mind: do a regular car wash, never skimp on preventive maintenance, and never drive without car insurance.

These, among other things, are how you ensure that your car and you travel down life’s highways together for a long time.

However, despite all the care you take, there are some little ways you are unknowingly damaging your car, and this can affect its performance down the road. Avoid these damaging habits to keep your car running smoothly.

8 Ways You Unwittingly Damage Your Car

1. Smoking inside the car

Not only does smoking sabotage your own physical health, it also causes physical damage to the car’s interior. Cleaning up and using an air freshener won’t cut it. Even opening the windows to blow the smoke out won’t work.

Smoking tobacco in an enclosed area makes the pollutants highly concentrated, which builds up on the car’s surfaces as well as its internal systems. These pollutants stay inside your car and are even circulated around the interior by the air-conditioning system.

2. Driving over road cracks and potholes

Shock absorbers are designed to reduce the feeling of bumps on poorly surfaced roads. But like everything in life, they have their limitations. Too many bumps will result in excessive wear and tear. Another danger posed by driving heedlessly down rough roads is that it increases the possibility of a blowout or flat tire, which can cause you to lose control of your car and end up in a road accident.

3. Cold-revving the engine

It is a bad habit of many to rev up the engine quickly. This is known as cold revving. Cold revving causes strain to the engine’s mechanisms due to a quick spike in temperature change. Let your car sit for a little when starting as that gives it time to better distribute oil throughout the engine. This also lets the engine oil warm up to the needed temperature.

4. Riding the brakes downhill

When they need to slow down on a downhill, many drivers instinctively hit the brakes. However, doing so heats up the brake pads and rotors leading to deterioration and overheating. The best way to slow down on an incline is to just shift into a lower gear. No need to worry about the speed as the decompression in the drivetrain will keep the vehicle moving at a safe rate.

5. Keeping your gas tank low

Think gassing up to a line or two is a good way to hack your weekly or daily budget plan? It’s not. You will end up spending the amount you saved on gas and more on repairs.

Fuel pumps are cooled from fuel submersion, so a frequently unfilled gas tank will lead to the fuel pumps heating up and rapidly wearing out. Also, when you only have a small amount of gas in the tank, your engine needs to exert more force to take that gas from the bottom of the tank.

Driving on an almost empty tank also causes a build-up of sediments that clog fuel filters and can compromise engine performance.

6. Sudden stops and starts

Suddenly slamming on the breaks to come to a stop compromises the brake pads and rotors. To prevent this from happening, make it a habit to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle before you– in a normal driving condition, of course. Also, sudden accelerations consume more gas compared to gradual speeding.

(Read: 5 Driving Mistakes That Even Veterans Are Fond Of Making)

7. Loading up the car

Aside from the fact that the weight of the vehicle contributes to extra consumption of fuel, it also adds pressure to significant car parts too. Hauling up too much weight and unnecessary cargo causes stress to the suspension, brake, and drivetrain.

8. Resting hands on the gear shift lever

Unless you’re a racecar driver who needs to actively switch gears, there’s no reason for your hand to be on the car’s shifter. Making the lever your ‘functional hand-rest’ puts weight on the sliders within your transmission’s bushings and synchronizers. Without your knowledge, getting too comfortable is causing internal wear and tear. Also, it’s safer to keep your hands on the wheel.