Keeping your car in good condition will not only keep you and other road users safe, it could help to save you money in the long term, too. As time advances and our driving test recedes further into the long-forgotten past, it is easy to slip into bad habits. These could be causing unnecessary wear on your vehicle.
Over the next couple of weeks, we look at ten small changes you can make to reduce wear on your vehicle.
- First off, we have a serious issue that many drivers are guilty of. Dragging on your brakes as you go downhill can cause your brakes to wear out much more quickly as they are fighting against gravity to slow your vehicle down. Instead of going at the same sped in the same gear, with your foot continuously on the brake to prevent your car from speeding up, go into a lower gear and use your brakes intermittently, taking your foot off and allowing the brake pads to cool and only reapplying the brake when needed. This will help your brakes to last for considerably longer.
- Up next is another common mistake that people don’t even realise they are making. Many drivers steer with one hand and rest the other on the gearstick, particularly if they are driving in heavy traffic and need to change gear frequently. This may seem harmless enough, but your gearstick is actually connected to a selector fork. When you rest your hand on the gearstick, it’s possible for you to engage the fork, causing unnecessary wear. Instead of resting on the gearstick, remember what your driving instructor told you all those years ago, and keep both hands on the wheel.
- It is true that shifting up a gear reduces the rpm, so optimises your fuel efficiency. However, if you accelerate hard when you are at low rpm, you are putting a lot of strain on the engine, particularly if you are going up hill or carrying a heavy load. Before pushing the accelerator to the floor, change down a gear and allow your revs to build slightly before accelerating.
- You might like to be prepared for any occasion but keeping your vehicle laden adds an extra burden as well as burning more fuel. Your manual will tell you the maximum load weight; try not to exceed that when going on holiday (maybe leave the kitchen sink at home), and on day-to-day runs, don’t carry unnecessary kit.
- You may be in a hurry, but if you shift into reverse before you have come to a complete stop, you are basically telling your vehicle to do two different things at the same time and putting extra strain on the transmission band, which is trying to do the job of stopping your car instead of your brakes. Transmission is expensive to repair – so be patient and let your brakes do their job before going into reverse.
If you’ve noticed that your vehicle isn’t responding as it should, contact a local garage; the sooner you get a problem checked out, the less expensive it’s likely to be. For our next five, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.