Five bad driving habits that could be costing drivers a small fortune
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According to experts ClickMechanic, there are several driving habits that motorists should not use. The experts stressed that habits such as braking harshly, riding the clutch, and driving with the hand resting on the gear stick can shorten the lifespan of some car parts – meaning they may need replacing more often.
Andrew Jervis, the CEO of ClickMechanic, said: “Many of us are guilty of bad driving habits but most won’t know that this can actually cost us money by prematurely wearing out parts.
“By driving sensibly we can prolong the lifespan of car parts, potentially saving hundreds in costly repairs.”
Riding the clutch
Average cost to repair: £600
When it comes to manual cars, the main worry is the clutch, which is particularly susceptible to damage.
The experts stressed that clutches can be expensive and can cost between £400 and £900, depending on the car. That’s why it’s important that drivers protect them.
Mr Jervis said: “Riding the clutch means not fully pressing down on the pedal.
“It’s a bad idea because as the clutch slips it chafes against the flywheel and gently wears it out. Avoid doing this and these parts should last much longer.”
Keeping the clutch engaged at traffic lights
Average cost to repair: £600
Motorists often choose to stay in first gear with their foot down on the clutch when they are at traffic lights to ensure a speedier getaway when the lights turn green.
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However, this bad habit can cause unnecessary wear and tear on expensive parts.
Mr Jervis explained if you “stay in gear and with your foot pressed down on the clutch at traffic lights [it] means prolonged strain and friction”.
Instead, “drivers should only engage and disengage the clutch when it’s really necessary”.
The expert recommended “a better option” when “at traffic lights”, and that’s putting the car “neutral and with the handbrake on”.
Resting your hand on the gear stick
Average gearbox repair: £300
While it may be comfortable for drivers to rest their hand on the gear stick, experts do not advise it.
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Mr Jervis stressed that keeping the hand on the gear stick unnecessarily may damage parts. He said: “When you change gears a selector fork is used. By resting your hand on the stick while it’s in gear you can cause unnecessary wear and tear to the fork, which could reduce its lifespan.”
Instead, “the best habit” is to “switch gears swiftly and return your left hand to the steering wheel”.
Harsh and late braking
Average cost to replace brake discs and pads: £284
Drivers should pay particular attention to the brakes as it’s arguably the most important safety feature in the car.
Mr Jervis explained: “When you brake there is an enormous amount of pressure put on a vehicle. Brake pads and discs will always need to be replaced over time, but how often can depend on your driving style.”
If you drive around town “at a low speed,” Mr Jervis said “stop-start traffic” puts “much less pressure on the brakes” as opposed to braking suddenly when “travelling at high speed on a motorway, for example”.
“This usually can’t be helped but if you find yourself braking harshly whatever the conditions, consider a much gentler driving style.
“This will put less strain on the parts and mean they don’t need to be replaced as quickly. Most manufacturers estimate pads should be replaced every 20,000 to 50,000 miles.”
Hitting potholes or speed bumps
Average cost to repair car suspension: £215
While avoiding potholes can be extremely difficult on UK’s roads, especially after winter, drivers should try avoid them as much as they can.
According to the expert, “potholes are the blight of road users everywhere”, and in some cases, they are “impossible to avoid” when driving. Anyone hitting a pothole on purpose, should “think again”.
He explained: “Potholes can cause wheels to be knocked out of alignment and cause sidewall bulges or tread separation on your tyres. Large potholes can also cause scratches to your rims.
“By dropping into a pothole you can also cause problems with your suspension including damaged shock absorbers and broken ball joints.”
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