When asked, we all view ourselves as pretty good drivers, but the fact is we all have a few bad habbits and there are a few that can actually cause damage to your truck.
We’ve listed the the top ten bad habits that are slowly killing your components and have you rolling down to the mechanic a lot quicker then needed.
Resting your hand on the gear stick? It’s easy to do when stuck in traffic, the constant gear changing; some people just find it a ‘handy’ comfy place to leave a hand. Trouble is the extra weight of your pinkies on the gear stick is causing unnecessary wear and tear on the bushes, linkages and synchronisers.
Do you use the parking brake when waiting in traffic? Those automatic cars are great for rev and go but neglecting to use the P on the selector means the whole bulk of your truck is weighing down on one little piece of metal the parking pawl a device fitted to an automatic transmission box in order for it to lock up the transmission, but not meant for continual vehicle weight through its lifetime.
Keeping your fuel tank over a quarter full makes the fuel pump work more efficiently. By keeping the fuel pump submerged in fuel it stays cool and avoids unnecessary wear and tear from working whilst hot. Also in colder weather, there is less chance of condensation inside your tank on the exposed sides.
Are you guilty of revving a cold engine? Yes in winter it’s all to easy to impatiently stroke the accelerator whilst waiting for the heaters to clear the windows although a windscreen would clear quicker if you put the aircon on. Ok so it doesn’t stop your teeth from chattering quite as quickly but revving a cold motor is in effect doing the same to your engine as your doing to your teeth. The cold metals parts are banging together because the oil needs time to warm up and get round to lubricate everything.
Riding the clutch reflects the modern days need for making every second count, we’re at the lights and waiting for green so the cars in gear and the clutch is down ready for go, go, go. This constant unnecessary compression is damaging the clutch pressure plate, release arm and release bearings. Try sitting in traffic with the gears in neutral, and clutch up, you’ll be surprised to find it doesn’t take that long to put a truck in gear.
Do you engage 1st gear whilst still rolling backwards or vice a versa? Shunting into a parking space whilst other cars are waiting does tend to focus our minds on getting in the space and out the way quickly. If you allow the car to roll whilst selecting gears to change direction you’re injuring the drivetrain so in future make sure the car has stopped then select the gear.
Hard Stops and Starts might make you feel like a rally driver but it’s increasing your fuel and repair bills. You can only go as far as the car in front, slamming down the accelerator hasn’t gained anything except a visit to the petrol station sooner. Stamping on the brakes unless in an emergency causes extra stress on the brake pads and rotors so if you want to drive like a professional look ahead and keep it smooth and steady, channel your inner chauffer.
Do you drag the brakes when going down steep hills? Yes a steep hill can be daunting, but resting your foot on the brake pedal, ready to slow down at a moment’s notice is not good. It causes strain and heat to build up in the brake system wearing out components like brake pads and rotors. Instead, you should shift into a lower gear when driving downhill to engage the engine brake which helps slow the car down through natural drivetrain decompression. You’ll find that the engine break will be far more effective then regular braking in maintaining your control and downhill speed. Combine this with dabbing the brakes on the decent. Want to know more about how engine breaking works then check out holding back the push.
When’s the last time you cleared out your vehicle, are you still carrying around that 4×4 trials kit from last months green laning trip? Any unneeded weight is unneeded wear and tear on everything plus fuel consumption. You don’t need to go mad, you might need a tyre jack next week but the heavy high lift jack? Yes, yes this one is a bit like teaching you to suck eggs but weight soon adds up and you dirt munchers are boy scouts at heart but reality check, won’t one adjustable spanner do when your licking the tarmac.
Warning lights shouldn’t be ignored. Those pesky little devils that appear across your dash when least convenient making our eyeballs roll and pockets flinch. For the more traditional truck driver among us this applies to warning sounds, those clunks and clangs that can easily be drowned out with a tweak of the volume. Remember they are just ‘warning’ signs and with prompt attention the problem can be dealt with quicker and probably cheaper. More importantly it can be dealt with on your terms, not in the middle of the motorway or worse the middle of now where.