If we’re honest with ourselves we know that no one is perfect. Everyone has a bad habit or two, particularly when it comes to driving. Some people tailgate. Others don’t use their signals when they should. These issues aren’t just annoying to other drivers, but can also pose great danger to them. But, did you know that poor driving habits can actually be damaging your vehicle? At Cassels Garage in Melbourne, FL, we know that habits are difficult to break. But, if you can curb some of these common driving errors you’ll save yourself from needless trips to the mechanic in the future.
Poor Habit #1: Not Avoiding Potholes
Some cities and towns have better-maintained roads than others, but none are completely devoid of potholes entirely. We all know that these gashes in the road can make for a bumpy and unsettling ride. However, running over potholes can often not just jostle you and your passengers, but also your vehicle.
Potholes can cause serious damage to your suspension, steering, and alignment, particularly when they are hit at higher speeds. When driving it’s always important to be alert and drive defensively so that accidents are evaded and road hazards such as potholes are able to be avoided. If you can’t safely switch lanes to elude a pothole the best thing to do is slow down to minimize the impact and potential harm to your vehicle. A little vigilance on the road can keep you from an unnecessary auto repair.
Poor Habit #2: Speeding Over Speed Bumps
Similar to hitting potholes too fast, speed bumps can be damaging to your car’s alignment when run over too quickly.
When a vehicle’s alignment is off the front of the car will tend to pull to one side or the other. The result of improper alignment is premature wear and tear of your tires. No one likes buying new tires, and having to purchase them sooner than expected because of an entirely correctable issue is never a pleasant feeling. Speed bumps are meant to keep pedestrians and drivers safe. Slowing down as you approach a speed bump will not only make your neighbors happy, but your vehicle will have a more pleasant response as well. Also, if your vehicle rides low to the ground, take extra care when approaching a speed bump. Low-riding vehicles can sustain dents to their bumper as well as serious damage to their undercarriage.
Poor Habit #3: Not Utilizing Your Parking Brake
So far we have discussed bad habits that could fall into the category of not using common sense. However, when to use and not to use your parking brake is a matter where most drivers probably don’t have a good understanding. Nevertheless, the answer to the questions is simple; always engage your parking brake when parked. No matter the terrain, if you’re on a hill, on flat ground, if it’s raining, if it’s sunny, manual transmission, or automatic, always make use of your parking brake when parked. While it is true that your vehicle’s transmission can keep the car from moving while in “Park”, the parking brake is the only part that is truly designed to keep the wheels locked in place. When a driver fails to engage the parking brake it can result in pressure on the clutch, transmission, parking pawl, and CV joints.
Utilizing the parking brake reduces pressure on the other parts of the vehicle and that results in less mechanical wear over time. Using the parking brake can have an additional benefit to vehicles with an automatic transmission as it keeps the cables and levers moving. When unused these cables and levers tend to oxidize and seize up making it difficult to engage the parking brake when it’s needed. So, even though it may be commonly referred to as the “emergency brake”, your parking brakes should be used daily, not just in times of peril. Otherwise, you may find your car parked at your local mechanic in need of repair.
Poor Habit #4: Not Pausing When Shifting From “Reverse” to “Drive”
All of us are in a hurry from time to time. You’re late getting to an appointment or dropping the kids off at school, and you jump in the car and switch from “Reverse to “Drive” while the car is still moving. But, what you may not realize is that every time you impatiently switch gears without stopping, your vehicle’s transmission takes a hit. Transmissions are not meant to stop your car and switch gears at the same time. The transmission is reliant on the brakes to stop the vehicle’s movement so that it can smoothly transition between gears.
Shifting gears while moving, even a little bit, can cause damage to components within the transmission. Always make sure to come to a complete stop before shifting from “Reverse” to “Drive” or the other way around. This simple change to your driving habit will keep you from having to make a visit to a local mechanic to have them make costly transmission repairs.
Poor Habit #5: Don’t Let Your Gas Tank Sit at Empty
Unfortunately, fuel gauges are not always as accurate as we’d like to think. You might think that when the low fuel light comes on that you’ve still got 40 or 50 miles before you really need to worry about getting more gas, but that isn’t necessarily true. Fuel mileage is dependent on a number of things, especially driving conditions. Gasoline can act as a cooling agent in your fuel system and running your car on a low tank may cause parts to overheat and malfunction. Also, if you run out of gas completely you could cause damage to your fuel pump, catalytic converter, or fuel system. The good news is that you can help to prevent certain auto repairs simply by making sure that your gas tank is always sufficiently filled.
We’re guessing that you probably found one or two bad habits from our list that hit close to home. Don’t feel bad, as we mentioned at the beginning, no one is perfect. Learn more about bad driving habits and how they can affect your car. But if repair is in the books, you might want to check out our article on 4 long-standing auto repair myths.
Cassels Gararge, Inc Auto Repair Shop
But, if you do find yourself in need of auto repairs from falling into bad driving habits, or even if just need routine maintenance, be sure to give us a shout. We provide top-notch repair auto repair in Melbourne, FL and Palm Bay, FL areas. Located in West Melbourne, we have been Brevard’s top choice for car repairs for over 50 years. We’re glad to help however we can.