Driving habits that are bad for your vehicle

9/14/2016


Different motor vehicles have been designed to make use of different types of fuel, engine oil, transmission fluid, engine coolant and braking fluid. Using the incorrect fluids may damage your vehicle’s components as well as voiding your vehicle’s warranty. So next time when topping up at your regular service station, check your owner’s manual before you top up!

Excess baggage
Carrying unnecessary weight not only affects fuel consumption but can put extra stress on some components of your vehicle. This is particularly true of smaller vehicles which were not designed to handle the extra load. Such as in towing scenarios, the extra weight placed on your vehicles suspension may adversely affect the vehicles handling (and braking) and lead to prematurely worn out brakes and shocks. Once again, before loading up, check your weight capacity in the owner’s manual or contact your dealer.

Riding the clutch
Riding the clutch causes the clutch plate to deteriorate prematurely and results in costly clutch failure. Traffic congestion is one of the primary causes when drivers over use their clutch. Try to avoid the clutch and rather work with the accelerator and handbrake or brakes to control the vehicle in constant stop and go situations.

Driving with imbalanced wheels and alignment
Driving with wheels that are not balanced and aligned leads to excessive wear and tear on the tire and suspension, shortening their life. This also increases the likelihood of the vehicle’s controls not responding as it should; especially in hazardous conditions.

Driving on incorrect tire inflation pressure
Under-inflated tires results in more of the tires surface making contact with the road. This causes increased friction which may affects the vehicle’s stopping ability, as well as damaging the structural integrity of the tire itself. Over-inflating the tire may lead to less traction while driving, which also affects braking and handling of the motor vehicle as less of the tires surface is making contact with road. Pressure guides are usually placed at the driver’s door, if not, check your user manual for correct inflation pressure!

Skipping regular maintenance intervals
Regular maintenance of your motor vehicle ensures that overall performance will continue to remain at optimal conditions. Skipping out may decrease the lifespan of certain components of your vehicle leading to increased risk of safety, and potentially voiding the vehicle’s warranty.

Riding your brakes on a downhill
Using the brakes for an increased duration may lead to a phenomena called brake pad glazing. This is caused when the brake pad is overheated and results in crystallized material on the pad surface and the brake disc. This can cause poor stopping performance, vibration or brake judder, and cracks or fissures in the brake pad material.

Revving the engine before the engine warms up.
For your engine to perform adequately, the fluid must be at operating temperature. Revving your vehicles engine before it has had a chance to warm up places unnecessary strain on the engines components which may lead to premature deterioration. It is advised that you let your vehicle idle for a few minutes before you set off on your journey so that all the fluids in and around the engine can warm up to operating temperatures.

Driving too closely to the vehicle in front of you
Keeping a safe following distance reduces the chances of stones hitting your vehicle, especially your windshield which may lead to chips and cracks which hinder your visibility. A safe following distance also ensures your safety by increasing the time for you to react in an emergency. Caution needs to be taken especially around road works as well as construction vehicles carrying sand, stone or other building material.

Not using your handbrake
Whenever you park your vehicle on an incline without using your handbrake you are adding extra strain to your vehicle’s transmission. Many drivers forget to (or choose not to) use their handbrakes; instead simply leaving it in gear. This can be a bad practice as unnecessary strain is placed on the vehicle’s transmission.

Bonus: Driving behavior
With all things considered, the person behind the wheel is responsible for the motor vehicle they are in control of. By paying attention to the environment and conditions in which one is operating will, in turn, be the most important part of ensuring that you and your vehicle remain safe and in good condition.

Article Source: AASA Public Affairs

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