Many who have passed their driving test will quickly pick up bad habits after some time on the road.
But there are some that are causing damage to your car that you should really try to stop doing before you’re landed with eye-watering repair bills.
We’ve listed six of the most common infractions that can increase the wear and tear on your vehicle – and asked MotorEasy to provide average repair costs for the nation’s most bought models.
Hidden cost of driving bad habits: We’ve listed six minor sins behind the wheel that can result in repair costs in excess of £100
The driving bad habits have been collated by LeaseVan.co.uk.
They are only minor sins rather than illegal actions behind the wheel, such as using a mobile phone.
Although they may seem harmless at first glance, they all can either result in immediate damage that needs to be repaired or accelerate the wear and tear on components, fast-tracking the need to have parts fixed or replaced entirely.
A spokesperson for LeaseVan.co.uk said: ‘No driver is perfect, and we’re all probably guilty of doing one or two of these things from time to time.
‘But problems arise when these habits go on and on, and aren’t nipped in the bud.
‘Most families rely on their vehicles to get by in their day-to-day lives, so anything you can do to protect its mechanics will save you having to fork out for hefty repair bills sooner than necessary.’
Where possible, we asked vehicle extended warranty provider MotorEasy to list the average repair costs for eight of the nation’s best selling cars: the Ford Fiesta and Focus; Vauxhall Corsa; VW Golf; Mercedes A-Class; Nissan Qashqai; Mini Hatch; and BMW 1 Series.
Putting unnecessary pressure on the gear stick while driving can do damage to the fork selector, which costs around £78 to replace for a small car – and that’s without tax or labour costs
1. Resting your hand on the gear stick
As well as being a potentially dangerous way to drive, resting your hand on the gear shifter can also damage your car in the long run.
If you often put your weight down onto the top of the gear stick, you may be applying pressure to the selector fork or other internal parts of the gearbox without even realising it.
Over time, this could cause these components to wear out much quicker than they should.
This can lead to noisy gears, or the inability to select a gear properly and smoothly.
For a Ford Fiesta, for instance, a ‘genuine parts’ gear selector fork costs around £78 before tax and labour costs.
To replace an entire gearbox for the Ford supermini, owners should expect to pay out in the region of £951, says MotorEasy.
The average cost of gearbox replacements for the eight most popular new UK models is £1,213.
Overusing the brakes means your discs and pads won’t last as long as they should. The cost to replace these parts averages £168, says MotorEasy
2. Riding the brakes
Keeping your foot on the brake for too long causes the braking system to get too hot, in turn damaging it and accelerating the usual wear and tear.
Instead, move down the gears to allow the car to slow itself, and use the brake only when necessary, like when you’re coming to a complete stop.
Looking further ahead and preparing to brake earlier and more gradually – rather than slamming on the anchors at the last minute – will also preserve the lifetime of braking components.
Replacing discs and pads, on average, costs owners of the eight most popular new cars in the region of £168 a go, says MotorEasy’s database.
Riding the clutch can accelerate the natural wear and tear of this very expensive component
3. Coasting with a foot on the clutch
Riding the clutch or ‘coasting’ is a really bad habit.
Not only does it reduce the amount of control you have over your vehicle, but it also speeds up the natural wear and tear of your clutch, so you’ll probably have to pay to get it replaced more frequently than should be the case.
Clutch replacements are never cheap – usually costing around £450.
Motorists are urged to not rev their cars too hard until the engine temperature has warned up
4. Over-revving immediately after starting the engine
While parked overnight the oil in your engine will eventually settle at the lowest point it can, so when you get in your car the next morning and start revving the engine wildly without giving it time to properly circulate the oil, there can be metal on metal friction that damages the components.
Doing this regularly can wear engine components far quicker, and in worst-case scenarios have a catastrophic impact on the powerplant.
Replacing an engine is – as you’d expect – very costly, averaging around £1,300, says MotorEasy’s calculation for eight of Britain’s best-selling motors.
Many private business operators use a passenger car to transport heavy items. However, not all vehicles are designed to lug such bulky loads
5. Overloading the car
Regularly overloading your vehicle, especially if you’re a business operator using a passenger car for work purposes and often transporting heavy items, not only places unnecessary strain on the engine and brakes but also the suspension components.
You also have to take into account to increased fuel consumption and probably exhaust emissions too.
The combined impact of this on your car can accelerate the need to replace various parts at an eye-watering expense.
On average, councils payout around £275 in pothole compensation. But if you fail in a claim bid, you could be stung with higher charges if there is damage to your car’s suspension
6. Driving through potholes
Britain’s roads continue to be riddled with potholes, despite the government providing funds to accelerate repairs.
While some are totally unavoidable, by staying alert motorists can avoid plenty of ruts in the tarmac ahead.
When you hit a pothole, the impact can cause buckled wheels, lumps in the tyre, and even cracked alloys. It can also upset the tracking and wheel balance and do serve damage to the suspension.
Many drivers who sustain vehicle damage from potholes can make a claim to their local council – or Highways England, if the crater was on a motorway or major trunk road – and receive compensation for the repairs.
The average compensation payout by councils for pothole damage in 2018 was £276.
But if you don’t make a successful claim, you could be forced to replace a tyre or wheel yourself.
Even more expensive to cover is suspension damage, which amounts to an average outlay of £297, says MotorEasy.
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