At Affordable Insurance, our goal is to give drivers a reliable safety net in the event of an accident with their car. Your insurance plan will help cover the costs of damages and liability if something happens. However, it is always better to take any measures you can to prevent auto accidents. The way you drive your car can have a significant impact on its overall condition and its risk of breaking down or causing an accident. Take a look at our ten bad driving habits that are bad for your automobile and make sure you are not inadvertently damaging your car.
- Ignoring your check engine light is one very risky habit that can lead to costly problems. Many drivers continue to drive with the check engine light illuminated. Some think of it as a precautionary measure and don’t consider bringing their vehicle to an auto shop until the engine is billowing smoke, or the car has trouble starting. Getting your car to a qualified mechanic as soon as you see the check engine light can make the difference between a quick tune-up and a long, costly diagnosis and repair job.
- Leaving it until the last moment to refill your gas tank can be harmful to your engine. Allowing your car to run on empty puts a strain on your fuel pump and may cause irreparable damage. In order to avoid an early replacement of your fuel pump, try to keep at least a quarter of a tank of gas in your vehicle at all times. Anticipate running out of gas before it happens, and if you are in an unfamiliar area, fill up sooner rather than later!
- Carrying unnecessary weight in your vehicle can increase the rate of wear on your transmission and brakes. It can also make your car harder to control. Be sure to slow down in snowy or icy conditions. Remove any heavy items that you don’t need from your trunk, and take off rooftop boxes and bicycle racks when not in use. Lightening the load on your car will improve your gas mileage and make driving safer.
- Gunning the accelerator from a stop can damage both your tires and your engine. The squealing noise caused by your tires when making a fast start is due to excessive friction. If done regularly, this can cause premature wear and tear on your tires. gov can help you learn when to replace your tires. Punching the gas can strain your engine, especially when it hasn’t had a chance to warm up yet and disperse the engine oil. Unless you are racing in the Formula One, there is no reason to gun the gas from a stop.
- Shifting into drive while rolling backward may seem like it saves you a few seconds in an automatic car. Unfortunately, this bad habit puts a tremendous amount of strain on your transmission system. To avoid wearing out your transmission and shelling out for expensive repairs, simply wait until the car has come to a complete stop before shifting from reverse to drive. It’s an easy change to make, but if done consistently it can make a huge difference in the longevity of your transmission.
- Riding the clutch in a manual car is a habit that can end up costing. The clutch should only be engaged when you are shifting into gear. Holding it down means you will end up burning it out and requiring a replacement faster. Avoid having your foot pressed on the clutch when waiting at traffic lights or intersections. Keep the vehicle in neutral until you need to shift into gear.
- Forgetting to use the parking brake can cause damage to your car and is just a dangerous thing to do. Without it, the only thing holding your vehicle in park is one small component of your transmission. This is not designed to hold the whole weight of your car, especially if on a hill, for any length of time. Putting this huge amount of pressure on your transmission can cause considerable damage. Protect your transmission and be safe by using your parking brake.
- Braking too much can wear down your brake pads and rotors quickly, meaning more frequent replacements. Drivers who do not leave adequate space between themselves and the car in front end up braking with greater frequency. They are also more likely to hit the vehicle in front of them if it slows down suddenly. Practice safe driving habits by leaving plenty of space between you and the next car. Snow, heavy rain, and ice on the road can double your braking distance, so remember to take this into account when driving in severe weather conditions.
- Using your headlights incorrectly will not cause direct damage to your car, but it is a dangerous habit and can increase the risk of you causing a collision. High beam headlights illuminate the entire road brightly and are suitable for use on dark rural roads at night with little traffic. When using your high beams, always remember to switch to low beams when approaching other vehicles, either head-on or from behind. High beam lights will momentarily blind other drivers and make it difficult for them to keep their car under control.
- Forgetting to check your blind spot is a dangerous habit that can result in disaster for you and your automobile. When moving from one lane to another, most drivers will check their mirrors for approaching cars. Remember, your side mirrors cannot show you the entire picture. To be sure there is no approaching vehicle it is best to have a quick glance over your shoulder to check the blind spot before shifting lanes. Forgetting to do this can lead to a nasty collision and cause damages and harm to yourself, other drivers, and passengers.
After reading our ten bad driving habits that are bad for your automobile and your safety, can you recognize any habits you need to change? Often, road accidents and vehicle breakdowns happen due to circumstances beyond our control. Some factors, however, are completely under our control. Practicing good driving habits will make you a safer driver and keep your vehicle in good condition. Keeping your insurance policy up to date and taking your car for factory scheduled maintenance checks are other ways to minimize your risk on the road.