Just got the keys to your brand new European car? As exciting as it is to finally get into the driver’s seat of your Audi, Volkswagen, or ŠKODA, even the biggest luxury car fans are wary of the cost of maintaining these prized vehicles.
What many drivers aren’t aware of, however, is that there’s more to keeping your car in tip-top shape than bringing in it for a service – how you drive it can actually extend its life on the road (or take years off of it).
Here are four bad driving habits you should steer clear of if you want your car to last for longer and save on car service costs and repairs.
1. Riding the brakes downhill
This is a pretty common practice amongst drivers, and while it may seem like the ‘safe’ thing to do when descending a steep road, keeping your foot partially on the brakes the whole way down increases the amount of friction on the brake pads and wears them out faster.
A better way to maintain a safe speed downhill without burning through your brake pads is to change into a lower gear and only apply the brakes intermittently, for shorter amounts of time.
2. Not driving your car regularly or on long enough trips
It sounds counter-intuitive, but leaving your car to sit in the garage for long periods of time and neglecting to take it out for longer drives can speed up the rate at which its engine and other parts break down.
Here are just a few examples of what happens to your car when it sits idle for to long:
- The car’s weight bears down on the tires and deflates them faster
- Engine fluids and oil can become old, coagulated, and lose their potency without being circulated around the car. This means more money spent replacing fluids and dealing with issues like overheating
- The battery can quickly lose its charge without the car being run frequently enough to keep it charged up – once it’s dead, you’ll need to give your car a jump-start to work again
- Moisture can build up and corrode car parts more quickly
- Small animals and other pests can infest your car and damage its parts
Sounds pretty bad, right? Your car doesn’t just need to be driven regularly, it needs to be driven for long enough to allow the engine to heat up and run properly.
For example, a common issue that arises from this practice for ŠKODA cars with diesel engines is an increased buildup of particulate matter on the diesel particulate filter (DPF). Over time, this buildup can clog the DPF and lead to increased fuel consumption and emissions of black soot, or even a loss of power.
3. Slamming on the brakes
Slamming on your brakes on only very rare occasions won’t do too much damage, but if you find yourself thrashing them on most car trips around, then it might be time to re-examine your driving style (and get someone to check your brakes’ condition!)
Similar to our previous point on riding the brakes, hitting the brakes suddenly puts a lot of pressure on them and, as a consequence, will also wear them out faster.
For your car’s health and your own safety, it pays to slow down and anticipate the stops and turns you need to make earlier and only apply the brakes gently.
At the same time, you might even save a bit more on fuel consumption if you keep your car creeping at a very slow speed before taking off again.
4. Ignoring dashboard lights or unexplained warning sounds
It’s every car owner’s dreaded fear, and ignoring the signs of unknown or impending car problems will usually work out to cost you even more than just getting it checked out by a professional.
Whether the check engine light has flicked on or your car’s lights are starting to flicker off, our expert European auto service team in Perth are qualified to diagnose and repair any issues that your car is experiencing.
Simply changing your driving style and paying closer attention to how your car looks, sounds, and drives could save you thousands of dollars and add years onto its life for you to enjoy.
To book your European car in for a service, or to enquire about Euro car parts in Perth, give us a call today on (08) 9309 3636.