10 Bad Habits You Probably Didn't Know Actually Damage Your Car

We're all guilty of some of these!

Cover image via RAC

Whether you just got your P license or have been driving for decades, we tend to slip into bad driving habits

Image via Tenor

We want to help you break bad habits! Here are 10 things you probably didn't know are damaging your car:

1. Being too lazy to clean your car

Image via Get 1 Free

Keeping your car clean isn't just for show, it's also important for your personal hygiene and the car's overall care. Dust, water droplets, mud, and airborne contaminants stick onto your car and damage both the interior and exterior.

Things become even worse when the pollutants enter the various parts of the engine. It not only causes blockages but also leads to rust. So wash your car regularly, and clean out the junk inside!

2. Buying engine oil and other essentials from non-authorised outlets just because it's cheaper

Image via Auto Tribute

As tempting as it is to purchase car essentials just because they're cheap at an non-authorised outlet, this is a bad habit you must break. It's dangerous to use engine oil that doesn't guarantee product authenticity. 

You're likely to end up with expensive damages to our car's engine. Instead, always look out for genuine products that are specifically made for the Malaysian market so you can enjoy the best performance from your car.

3. Putting your car in Neutral mode at the red light

Image via Car From Japan

It's a common misconception that keeping your auto car in Neutral at the red light will save fuel and prevent unnecessary wear. But in fact, the engine wear and fuel loss are minimal.

According to Lifehacker, disengaging and re-engaging in Neutral actually adds wear to the various parts of the car involved!

4. Resting your foot on the clutch pedal

Image via Car Keys

If you drive a manual and find yourself resting your left foot on the clutch while you drive, you could be wearing it out! Not only that, this habit also reduces fuel efficiency.

It's best to only press the clutch when you need to change gear. 

5. Driving on an "almost empty” fuel level

Image via 4 Wheels News

Once in a while we can't help driving until the "empty" sign starts flashing, but you certainly shouldn't make it a habit.

Modern cars have a tendency to accumulate sediments that settle at the bottom of the fuel tank. So when the tank is almost empty, the pump will draw fuel from the bottom where the not so good particles are. This in turn can clog your fuel filter, and in some cases, even into the engine itself!

6. Adding unnecessary weight to your car

One of the biggest factors of your car's performance and reliability is the weight it carries. The lighter you keep your vehicle, the better it will perform. It gives less stress on the drivetrain and suspension, therefore less wear and tear.

So be sure to clean out the unnecessary clutter in the boot!

7. Using the gear shift as a hand rest

Image via RAC

We're always looking for ways to get more comfortable, but if you drive a manual and are resting your hand on the gear shift, it's time for you to break the habit! 

When you change gears, the selector fork is pushed against the rotating collar, and the collar is then pressed into the gear you choose. By resting your hand on the gear shift, you cause the selector fork to come in contact with the rotating collar prematurely. In the long run, this habit can result in selector fork wear.

8. Not immediately cleaning bird poop off your car

Image via Car From Japan

Bird droppings are very acidic and will actually burn and ruin your paint job. So if you spot poop on your car, you should clean it off as soon as possible before it does any damage.

To protect your paint job, consider using a clear, thin layer of wax or paint sealant.

9. Parking under the hot sun for extended periods of time

Heat damage from the hot Malaysian sun can ruin both your car's interior and exterior. UV rays can melt plastics, crack your dashboard, and cause fading on your paint job.

Always try to park in the shade whenever possible, whether it's in covered car parks or under a tree. Alternatively, invest in a good quality window tint and sun shade for your windshield.

10. Not servicing your car on time

Image via Serrano Info

If your car has been making unusual noises or causing you any kind of trouble, you should not delay bringing it to the workshop to get it checked out. These warning signs tend to signal wear and tear, and you don't want to wait to nip the problem in the bud.

In addition to that, you should never delay getting your car serviced regularly. Basic car maintenance will prevent large expenses on car repair in the long run, and keeps your drive comfortable all the time.

It's not easy to break bad habits, especially if you're already a seasoned driver!

With your car well looked after, it's time to go on a road trip! Check out these stories for inspiration: