Driving habits that cost you money

While depreciation is one of the most talked about costs of owning a vehicle, there are other, less obvious costs that you have more control over, and which could, if managed better, reduce the cost of ownership.

Warming up your car has lost popularity with the advent of the more modern, robust engines. However, it is a really good idea to spend a few minutes letting the oil circulate through the engine, before you speed off in the morning.

Riding the brake pedal will cause unnecessary wear and tear to your brake pads and discs, and the costs associate with replacement more frequently than otherwise. In addition, it is really annoying for the car behind you, who hopefully is leaving a decent following distance.

Driving at speed with the window open will increase drag and you will land up refuelling more frequently, costing you more.

Roaring along in a gear too low is going to apply unnecessary stress and strain on the mechanics of your car. Conversely, driving at too low a speed in too high a gear is also bad for your engine. Both bad habits will cost you over time – choose the correct gear for the speed that you are doing.

Fill up your tank before you hit the reserve warning. It’s really not good for your car to run on a fuel level that is too low as you run the risk of small particles of foreign material that may have settled to the bottom of your tank entering the engine potentially causing damage that could be costly to repair.

Check your dashboard periodically as you are driving – this will ensure that you pick up warning lights as soon as possible. The colour of the indicator will indicate the seriousness of the issue – red, orange, blue/white/green. If the indicator is red or orange – pull over immediately and consult your car’s manual – you may just save yourself a costly repair.

Servicing your car regularly, in line with the intervals indicated in the Owner’s Manual will keep your engine lubricated, and ensure that all engine parts are checked for faults and replaced when necessary. Think of it as preventative maintenance, rather than breaking down in some inconvenient location and having to pay costs of towing and repair, possibly of additional damage caused that could have been avoided.

Leaving your hand on the gearstick as you are driving, could apply pressure that starts to engage the selector forks, leading to wear and tear and possibly expensive repairs.

For those who drive a manual car, riding the clutch is a well known bad habit – heating up the clutch as you drive and potentially burning it out.

Avoiding some of these habits could save you money and ensure that your car lasts longer, and has a higher resale value when you decide to eventually replace it.