Are You Accidentally Damaging Your Car?

4 min read
Take note of the following suggestions to help keep your car in peak running condition.

You can’t keep your vehicle from depreciating in value or needing repairs, but there are things you can do to prevent damaging your ride.Check Your Driving Habits

Driving with care helps prevent wear and tear on car parts and prolong the life of your vehicle.

  • Avoid rapid starts and stops. Hard acceleration puts a strain on a number of your car’s powertrain components, including pricey high-tech automatic transmissions. Sudden braking can cause your brake discs to warp from overheating; it also wears out the brake pads. Being considerate and anticipating the road situation ahead is better for the health of your car.
  • When going downhill, don’t drag your brakes as that will wear down your brake pads and discs. Instead, engage a low gear, apply the brakes lightly when required, then release the pedal to allow the brakes to cool. Repeat the process until you have reached the foot of the slope.
  • When going uphill, don’t floor the accelerator in high gear. It makes the engine work harder and places undue strain on the motor. Engage a lower gear for power and wait for the revolution per minute (rpm) to rise before switching to a higher gear for better fuel economy.
  • Be aware of potholes and speed bumps. Driving into potholes can damage the tyres and affect the tracking and wheel balance. And when it comes to speed bumps — which are plentiful in Singapore — failing to slow down for one can damage the front and rear of the car, the underside and, potentially, the exhaust system. Drive at a slow and steady pace so you don’t have to brake hard to avoid potholes or speed bumps.

  • Avoid pushing the low-fuel limit. While it may be tempting to see just how far you can continue driving when the low-fuel warning light has come on, it is not healthy for your car. You risk damaging the fuel pump, which is cooled and lubricated by the flow of petrol.

Mind Your Personal Habits

It may feel natural to you, but some of your personal quirks may be damaging your car or even compromising safety without you noticing.

  • Don’t rest your foot on the brake pedal. This can cause premature wearing out of brakes. It can also cause excessive heat build-up, which is liable to damage braking system components and compromise the effectiveness of your automatic emergency braking system. If your foot is resting on the pedal, it may also be a signal to the automatic emergency braking system to not activate when it should.
  • Avoid overloading your car as it will compromise its performance, ride and handling. When your vehicle carries weight beyond the maximum recommended load, there’s more strain placed on the brakes, suspension and drivetrain. It also helps to not leave unnecessary items, such as golf clubs or gym weights, in the boot for better fuel economy and emissions output. If you have to load up — perhaps you are moving house — spread the weight evenly throughout the vehicle so that you don’t overload one axle or one corner of the car.

Keep Up with Care and Maintenance

Finally, the best way to avoid damaging your car is simply to take care of it.

  • Send your car for regular servicing. If it is recommended that you replace important parts, such as timing belts, after a certain amount of mileage, don’t refuse to do it just because it looks okay.
  • Always watch your tyre pressure. Tyre pressure affects your vehicle’s fuel economy and handling. Some cars come with tyre pressure monitoring feature as part of their safety system. Otherwise, conduct monthly checks with a manual gauge.
  • Use the right size and type of tyres. Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended list of tyre sizes and types engineered to work with your vehicle’s specifications. The wrong tyres can affect the handling of the vehicle and place stress on the powertrain, leading to premature tyre failure or even compromising safety system features, such as automatic emergency braking.
  • Don’t ignore warning lights. It may be tempting to ignore the flashing light on your dashboard, especially when you don’t feel that there’s anything wrong, but it is worth checking the owner’s manual to know which lights need to be addressed urgently. In general, warnings related to engine, brakes, power steering, airbag, oil pressure, and cooling system should never be ignored.