No? Well let me tell you there are certain driving habits everyone enjoys that are actually secretly very damaging to your car. Sometimes in an attempt to get comfortable with driving, especially new drivers, we adapt to different habits to help us learn, but these techniques turn to lifelong habits that cause damage. Costly damage.


1.    Late Braking

Emergency stops happen as we all know and that means an emergency stops is necessary, but we also are aware of how many of us tend to brake right before the stop sign. Late braking so consistently puts strain on your braking system, brake pads and discs and also costing you fuel. The best way to drive is to anticipate your route. You should be aware of where you are going so you can brake in a timely fashion and gradually slow before coming to a stop.


2.    Riding the clutch


Riding the clutch is a habit that many of us entertain. Little do we know what the repercussions of this actions can also be quite costly. For those that do not practise this, riding your clutch is when you do not remove your foot from the clutch peddle once you have changed gears or when attempting a hill-start. Continually doing this will cause wear on plate. This will shorten its lifespan.


3.    Revving the engine while cold


You shouldn’t rev your engine when the engine is not yet warmed up. The best is to leave your vehicle to idle so in effect the oil can warm up and circulate through the engine properly. Doing this avoids potential damage and wear and tear.


4.    Neglecting warning lights


Neglecting warning lights on your dashboard is a big no-no. There are certain lights that can be ignored until you have a chance to do something about it. However lights appearing under any of the following categories need immediate attention:

  1. Engine/ECU
  2. Braking system
  3. Power steering failure
  4. Airbag
  5. Oil pressure
  6. Cooling system


5.    Hitting potholes and Speed bumps


This is when you go through potholes without slowing down. The impact from this can cause buckled wheels, lumps in the tyre, cracked alloys and can also upset the tracking and wheel balancing.

Avoiding potholes is not always possible, but as far as you possibly can it’s best to avoid them.

Going over speed bumps without slowing down can cause damage to front, rear, and underside of the car and can also damage your exhaust system


6.    Shifting from drive to reverse before stopping


This is a big problem in Automatic transmission vehicles. Shifting to reverse before coming to a complete stop can damage the transmission bands. This is not a serviceable item therefor any work done on the automatic transmission will be very costly and also labour-intensive.

In a manual car the same problem goes to crunching gears. Always come to a complete stop before changing a gear.


7.    Overloading your Vehicle


Every car manual gives you a maximum load it can carry and this will be inclusive of all extra weight in the vehicle. A car seems like it can carry such big loads but this does not mean that you can’t overload your car. Overloading can cause extra strain on brakes, suspension and drivetrain. Best is to keep to the weight limit.


8.    Flooring the accelerator in high gear


When you accelerate incorrectly in the wrong gear you cause your engine to work a lot harder than it should and this strains your motor. You should rather go down to a lower gear and allow your engine to build revs. This is most important when the car is loaded and/or you are going uphill.


9.Resting your hand on the gear stick


This is a habit that many of us perform. Even though we are taught different when doing our driver’s tests. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocent action can actually do damage to your transmission. The gearstick is connected to a selector fork which needs to make contact with a rotating collar for a short amount of time, per its design. Resting your hand on the gearstick applies pressure to the selector fork and this will cause premature wear.


10. Dragging brakes on downhill


Dragging your brakes is an action that can wear out your brake pads and discs. It is a very costly process having to continually replace your brake pads and discs. The way forward would be to simply engage in a low gear and then very lightly apply brakes and then release to allow the brakes to cool. Repeat this till you reach the end of the hill



Keeping our cars in order is such a necessity since we are in such troubling times. We need to make what we have last. At VAG Spec Centre we are completely equipped to address any of your issues if you find that you experience these problems. Or if you know you are guilty of using these maneuvers and suspect some of this damage applies to you.

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