Bad habits that can shorten the life of your car

Bad habits that can shorten the life of your car

Bad habits that could be seriously shortening the life of your car

You could be driving your car into an early appointment with the scrap yard without even knowing it. From risking the cars level of performance to hammering the engine, there are many bad habits which you might not even realise you’re doing. This is why we have identified the most common ways motorists punish their cars.

Resting your hand on the gear-stick

You can probably remember your driving instructor telling you to always keep two hands on the wheel at all times, but many of us develop bad habits as soon as the ‘L’ plates come off. One of these is resting your hand on the gear-stick, which is bad for the transmission. The gear-stick is connected to a selector fork, which is designed to make contact with a rotating collar for a short amount of time. So, if you rest your hand on the gear-stick, you risk applying pressure to the selector fork, causing premature wear.

Hitting potholes and speed bumps

A third of all vehicle damage is caused as a result of potholes, so these holes in the road really are best avoided. The impact can cause buckled wheels, lumps in the tyre and cracked alloys, as well as upsetting the tracking and wheel balancing. And driving over a speed bump without slowing down can cause damage to the front and rear of the car, the underside, and potentially the exhaust system.

Revving the engine when cold

Some people may tell you that making regular short journeys is terrible for your car because the engine oil never fully warms up. In reality, all vehicles start from cold, so the critical thing is to avoid revving the engine until is warmed up. This gives the oil the time to warm and circulate around the engine, avoiding potential damage and undue wear and tear.

bad habits

Flooring the accelerator in a high gear

Many modern cars feature a gear-shift indicator light, advising you when to change up or down a gear, so it’s probably best not to ignore it. Accelerating at low rpm, or in too high a gear, means that the engine is working harder, placing unnecessary strain on the motor. Change down a gear and allow the revs to rise before changing up. This is particularly important when carrying heavy loads or when climbing hills.

Overloading your vehicle

Modern cars are designed to carry heavy loads, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be overloaded. The greater the weight, the more strain your placing on the breaks and suspension. It’s also worth noting that while unnecessary items, such as golf equipment or gym gear, in the boot of your car won’t add increased strain on your car’s parts, it will affect your car’s fuel economy and possibly its emissions output.

Shifting from drive to reverse before stopping

Shifting between reverse and drive in a car fitted with an automatic gearbox is really bad for the transmission. The automatic gear-box is designed to shift gears and not to bring the car to a stop. Shifting gear before coming to a stop will cause wear and tear on transmission, which could be costly.

Neglecting warning lights

Modern dashboards feature many lights but they should never be ignored. Make sure you know what they mean and if they affect the engine/ECU, braking system, power steering, airbag, oil pressure or cooling system, you may need to see a mechanic. If you’re unsure of which lights mean what, and what you should do if you see them, check out our warning lights guide here.

warning lights bad habits


Late Braking

There may be a time when you need to perform an emergency stop, in which case sudden braking is essential. But, consistent late breaking will place more strain on the braking system, wearing out your pads and discs faster, as well as costing you more fuel in the process. In general, a slow and considered approach to driving, anticipating the road ahead, is better for your car and the environment.

Dragging the brakes downhill

Dragging the brakes is a lousy practice that will likely add increased wear and tear on the brake pads and discs. This will lead to needing to replace them more frequently, which will add an unnecessarily increased expense to your driving. When travelling downhill, it is best to engage a low gear, apply some light braking, and then release the pedal to allow the brakes to cool.

To make sure your car hasn’t been damaged by any bad driving habits, why not book it in for a health check at one of our aftersales centres?  They’re located in Byfleet, Bookham and Orpington.


Are there any more bad habits that we missed? If so, let us know on our social channels! We are @twwhiteandsons on Twitter and Facebook. Check out more content on our blog!

Similar Articles


ULEZ Expansion, the upcoming changes to the Ultra Low Emission Zone

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London was introduced in April 2019. The ULEZ enforces a fee on certain vehicles driving through the designated area based on the manufacturer’s declared emissions levels. Essentially, any car, motorbike, van, bus, coach or lorry used in the ULEZ zone must meet the minimum ULEZ emissions standards […]


Visit our showroom from your sitting room

As a Mazda YourWay dealership, we are committed to making your experience with us as pleasurable as possible. We are pleased to be able to offer video vehicle presentations, at home test drives and home delivery of vehicles. Mazda YourWay – Test drive from your driveway At T W White and Sons our aim is […]


2020 World Car of the Year

UPDATE 08/03/2020 – As the 2020 World Car of the Year finalists are narrowed down to just three, Mazda finds itself with to models in contention for the overall prize – the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-30. Mazda are once again proving their expertise at making incredible cars, with the Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-30 […]