We all want to keep our cars shiny, new, and running like a dream forever. But while you’re busy polishing till it sparkles and taking care of it the best way you know how, you might actually be damaging your car without realising it. Scary thought, right?
To put your mind at ease, here are some of those habits which can harm your car. At least once you know about them, you can put your best foot forward and drive with your car’s longevity in mind.
Habits that are damaging your car without you knowing
Sometimes, our everyday driving habits can be wearing away at our cars. Little things that if changed could make a big difference to our car’s health.
We know you don’t want to wear them out sooner than is necessary. Check out some of the little things below that could be damaging your car without you even realising it’s happening. Until now, anyway!
Resting your hand on the gear stick
Did you know that resting your hand on the gearstick can be bad for the transmission? It’s not hard to move your hand off, we all know that. It’s just a habit and it’s time to change it.
The gearstick is only meant to make contact with all the mechanical stuff underneath for brief periods. If you rest your hand on it, you can apply constant pressure and wear it out much more quickly.
So, both hands on the wheel. Just like your parents told you.
Foregoing the coolant
There’s no way around it. Australia has hot summers. If you’re spending a lot time stuck in traffic in the blazing heat or are driving your car hard, the water in your radiator can boil. Hello, engine damage.
But your troubles don’t end in winter. You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?
On cold days, the water can freeze. The real problems come when it expands. We’ve all seen a frozen bottle crack or explode as water or liquid expands. Except that in this scenario, your engine block is the thing cracking.
So basically, don’t use straight up water unless it’s a temporary measure when you’re in a real bind. Go for a mixture of water and coolant. Just like your car’s manual says.
Your impatient driving is damaging your car
Urgh, we know. The workday is over and you just can’t wait to get home and relax. We’ve all been there. And we get it.
But if you’re not slowing down sufficiently for speedbumps and potholes, you’re risking causing damage to the wheels, exhaust, bumpers, alloys, and alignment.
And if you’re whizzing around corners like you’re up against Lewis Hamilton himself, you’re damaging your car. The same thing goes for accelerating hard in a high gear.
Both of these put undue stress on your car, tyres, and handling systems. Plus, it also decreases your fuel efficiency.
Are those five minutes you save really worthwhile?
Overloading your car
We’ve all been guilty of storing something (ok, EVERYTHING) in our car instead of taking it out. A few extra files or a snack won’t do any harm, but if you’re overloading your car then you’re increasing the wear and tear. Your brakes and suspension will feel the strain especially hard.
So, don’t be tempted to add unneeded luggage to that trailer or bring your surfboard everywhere with you in case the mood strikes you. Plus, you’ll love having a clutter free car.
Driving with low fuel can damage your car too
There are two types of people in this world. Those who fill up as soon as the tank hits the ¼ mark, and those who push their cars riiiiight to the limits. If you’re the second type, you might be damaging your car. As well as the nerves of everybody in the car with you.
When your fuel tank is almost empty, the car takes fuel from the very bottom of the tank. This sounds harmless, except that this is usually where contaminants sink to and collect. If there’s a big build-up of contaminants, they might end up blocking your filters or even getting into the engine.
Moral of the story? The school run isn’t meant to be a gamble of ‘how far can I go on 1/100th of a tank of fuel?” Just fill up the tank already! And read our car storage ideas that make the school run smoother.
Car insurance – a damaged car’s best friend
Hopefully, you’re not guilty of doing any of these things… but now you know so all will be well. Regardless, comprehensive car insurance can offer financial protection in the event that your car does get damaged or stolen.
Because even with the most careful driving in the world, accidents do happen.
How you’re damaging your car – over to you
What have we missed here? If you’ve found out about a surprising way you can damage your car inadvertently, let us know on the PD Insurance Australia Facebook page.