7 driving behaviors that cost you money every day

11 Min Read
7 driving behaviors that cost you money every day

Owning a car includes both the purchase price and the cost of upkeep. But even though it might not seem like it, certain driving habits can cause us to lose money.

Owning a car can be very expensive since, in addition to the initial outlay, it needs regular maintenance to ensure that it runs as efficiently as possible for as long as possible.

7 driving behaviors that cost you money every day

Whether you purchased a Dacia Sandero, a Volkswagen Golf, or a Tesla Model X, the cost to do so was high, and after you have one, you will likely need to maintain and repair it for many years.

In this final section, we will discuss how our driving habits and style significantly impact our pocketbooks and the useful life of the car’s parts.

The truth is that many drivers have bad habits that cost us money even when we aren’t even aware of them. All of them will be covered to teach you how to save costs without making any new purchases.

1. Putting pressure on the vehicle when it’s chilly

Unfortunately for your long-suffering cars, this is one of the drivers of the practice that is the worst for a car’s mechanics and also one of the most prevalent.

One of the most delicate things you can do for your car is to drive it carefully and gently while the engine is cold. You should steer clear of rapid accelerations and gear changes earlier than usual.

This is especially crucial in the winter because it can get freezing there at night.

Remember that conventional engines operate best at temperatures between 80 and 90 C. The oil does not lubricate effectively at this value because it has not yet attained the required viscosity index. The friction and wear on the moving parts will increase as a result.

You will significantly prolong the life of the engine parts if you are patient and wait until it has warmed up to at least 60 degrees. You also save money in that way.

2. Rushing the backup

Another common driving practice can be highly costly because it harms the gasoline pump, pipes, and injectors.

This is because liquid fuels contain solid sediments kept at the tank bottom. Suppose you develop the habit of running out of gasoline.

In that case, you will introduce these sediments into the fuel pump and the rest of the fuel circuit, in addition to the risk of running out of fuel one day (which can also result in a cost overrun).

It is sometimes necessary to rush the reserve due to an error in calculation or for any other reason. This is acceptable if it happens once, but if we continue to do so, we risk incurring expensive breakdowns.

3. Failure to turn off the air conditioning before putting the engine in neutral

Let’s stick with a tradition that has been around for a long time—keeping the air conditioning on throughout the summer.

The system will stop suddenly due to the simple act of not shutting it off before the engine is stopped, suffering more harm than necessary and compromising its integrity.

Similar to the last instance, if you do it infrequently, it won’t cause a breakdown, but if you make it a habit, you might experience an air conditioning failure. The best action is to turn the engine off first, then turn the switch off.

4. Skipping the turbo’s cooling down

Similar to the air conditioning issue we previously mentioned, this issue also affects engines with turbochargers.

In this case, the turbine, which rotates at tens of thousands of revolutions per minute, builds up a very high temperature during operation, especially in lengthy stretches of high speed with sustained acceleration. You can learn more about turbo and how it works here.

If your vehicle has a turbocharger, you should always let the engine idle for 30 to 60 seconds before turning it off.

This will allow the turbine to cease rotating and reduce engine temperature. Otherwise, you risk future costly breakdowns by overworking the parts, particularly the turbine shaft.

5. Driving with underinflated tires

This error is frequently made because we tend to believe that once the tires are inflated, they will always keep their pressure.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as the pressure gradually decreases due to temperature fluctuations, potholes, and regular car use.

The optimal frequency is once per month for tire pressure checks. Otherwise, you risk driving with less pressure than is ideal, increasing the rolling surface of the tire and boosting fuel consumption.

Increased fuel consumption will cause the tire’s sides to wear out more quickly, necessitating an early tire replacement or possibly making it impossible for you to pass the MOT when it’s your turn.

6. Using the windows down when driving

In vehicles without air conditioning, this behavior is unavoidable because the sun’s radiation quickly raises the inside temperature of the car on hot days.

However, it is advisable to utilize your air conditioning if you have it. Yes, the air conditioner reduces engine power, increasing fuel consumption, but the friction caused by open windows makes the effect considerably more pronounced.

This has minimal use in urban settings, but consumption can increase significantly on fast routes or highways if we drive with the windows down.

In addition, there is a chance that insects will get inside the passenger area, and you won’t have as much protection if there is an accident.

7. Mistreatment of neutral in motion

Since the engine remains idle and the vehicle is still moving while in neutral, many drivers believe doing so saves fuel.

Contrary to popular belief, the machine must idle on its initiative and without assistance from the crankshaft, which is itself driven by the wheels’ rotation.

When traveling down a slope with a gear engaged and the accelerator depressed, the consumption will be nil.

The best course of action is to leave a gear engaged and let off the accelerator as we descend a slope or approach a red light.

As the vehicle’s kinetic energy will do all work, consumption will be equal to zero in this manner (the same energy used by the regenerative brake to obtain electrical power).

On the other hand, if we shift it into neutral, we risk losing control of the car and forcing the engine to use some fuel—roughly 0.3 or 0.4 liters every 60 miles.

Other expensive driving habits

Though we have only identified seven, more practices can make driving more expensive than it should be.

Driving in the incorrect gear—either too high or too low—is among the most crucial mistakes.

Engines have a perfect range of revolutions where they achieve the best balance between efficiency and performance. Overdoing or revving it too hard causes it to consume more fuel and wear out sooner.

However, run the engine too low, for instance, in fourth gear on a 50 km/h section. It won’t have the power to respond as quickly as you need it to when you want it to, such as when leaving a traffic circle or in any other situation, and it will have to exert more energy to make up for it.

When this happens, the car shakes and appears to be sinking. The engine is requesting assistance and a lower gear.

Generally, a diesel vehicle should have its gear changed between 2200 and 2500 rpm, while a gasoline vehicle should preferably hold off until 3200 to 3500 rpm.

In this way, the automobile will be content and at ease, making up for the slight difference in consumption that shifting at a lower rpm will save you in the long run with more excellent dependability.

Another one of those destructive behaviors is keeping the clutch depressed when you are standing still. The best thing to do when stopping at a stop sign or intersection is to put the engine in neutral and let off the clutch; otherwise, you risk prematurely wearing down the system.

The clutch disc and thrust bearing wear out under the same circumstances while your foot rests on the pedal.

About this, we suggest reading this article, where we discuss the drawbacks of the Start & Stop mechanism.

Beyond all of the previously covered topics, we must emphasize that disregarding the maintenance and replacement intervals for components like filters, oil, brake pads, and coolant is counterproductive and that any savings you think you are making will ultimately backfire in the form of expensive breakdowns.

So drive safely and sensibly!

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