Avoidable mistakes: 5 things you didn’t realise were damaging your car!

Avoidable mistakes: 5 things you didn’t realise were damaging your car!

Sometimes we just have to own up to the truth: we were in the wrong.

We scratched the alloys because we’re no good at parallel parking, or we bumped into the car in front because we were too busy messing around with the radio station to notice it.

Fair enough.

These things were our own fault – and we can recognise them as being entirely down to a lack of driving experience, or a lapse in concentration.

But what about our deeply-engrained driving habits?

What about those actions we take, unthinkingly, each and every time we drive?

Could they be damaging our cars in ways we never suspected?

Let’s look at some driving behaviours and routines that could cause damage to our vehicle in ways we never suspected…

1. Heavy keys

Is your car key attached to a key ring that’s full with a hundred other different keys?

If it is, you might want to think about getting rid of a few of them…

Your bunch of keys will probably be heavy, and the weight – coupled with the movement generated from driving – can put unnecessary strain on the tumblers inside the ignition.

Too much strain and you’ll break them – and a broken ignition means that you’ll be left with a non-starting car.

Those who don’t have central locking and use their keys to open the car door should also be careful, since a large bunch of keys can cause scratches to the paintwork around the lock.

2. Idling

Stuck in traffic? Parked up at the side of the road waiting for someone?

Don’t leave the engine running.

Idling means that the engine doesn’t operate at the most efficient temperature, and so the fuel in the engine is only ever partially combusted.

Excessive idling can cause a build-up of fuel residues which would normally have been burnt off, and these residues can damage engine components.

3. Petrol station refilling

You might think the sight of a petrol tanker parked up on the forecourt, refilling the garage’s supply of fuel was a good thing.

As it turns out, it isn’t…

During refilling, the entering fuel can stir up sediment that’s built up inside the underground tanks, and if it makes it into your car’s tank, this sediment can cause damage to your fuel injectors and clog your fuel filters.

So if you see a petrol tanker, it might be an idea to keep on driving to the next garage.

4. Not paying attention to the road

When we talk about not paying attention to the road, we’re not talking about the traffic – we really mean the road!

We’ve all run over a pothole before, but driving over one too many holes in the road could start to affect the car’s wheel alignment.

Faulty wheel alignment can cause the car to veer dangerously to one side, and it can lead to premature tyre wear and result in a lower fuel mileage.

5. Listening to fast music

OK, so listening to fast music might not cause direct damage to your car – but it’ll increase your chances of some form of damage occurring.

One researcher took 28 students and placed them each in a driving simulator. As they drove music from a variety of different genres was played, from slow tempo ballads to fast-paced dance.

The study showed that those who listened to fast music in the car were twice as likely to be involved in an accident as those who listened to slower music.

So turn off the techno and try the Chopin instead.