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Ten ways in which people kill their car without realising.

"Don't kill your car!"

Are you slowly killing your car?

If a car is well maintained and looked after then it will look after you. The number of cars on the road grows rapidly with many households running 2 cars or more. 

Very few drivers realise they are killing their car through ignorance. Here are the top 10 most common mistakes drivers make, how many are you guilty of?

Many drivers are actually damaging their car or running up large repair bills without realising it.

Here are 10 of the most common things that TorqueCars sees people doing every day completely oblivious to what it's doing to the car. Most of these points will at the very least hit us in our pockets in the near future.

10 things that will kill your car! How many are you guilty of?

1.) Regular oil changes and servicing - Engine oil really is vital to a cars health. But it is often ignored and not even checked! Topping up the oil is not the same thing as doing an oil change! Oil degrades due to picking up products of combustion and general wear and tear.Oil levels are usually dropping, in some cars this is dramatic in others you'll notice very little. Oil should be near the top of the mark on the dipstick if it's too high or too low you have a problem. Oil levels were dangerously low in over 70% of cars we checked - check your oil levels today. 

2.) Incorrect tyre pressures cause problems. Pressure is lost over time and temperatures affect the pressure. Too low and you'll have additional heat building up in the tyres due to the extra flexing which will destroy the tyres integrity. You'll also sacrifice fuel economy as well. With under inflated tyres the handling becomes unpredictable at best. Braking is also significantly reduced. Over inflated tyres also wear more quickly and affect your cars handling.

3.) Turbo drivers beware! Not allowing turbo to cool down is a major issue. If you drive a turbo driven engine hard and then switch off suddenly you fail to allow the turbo to cool down properly. More and more production cars have turbos to meet emissions and power requirements. 70% of premature turbo failure is due to failing to allow it to spin down before switching off.Bear in mind that the turbo spins between 100,000 rpm and 200,000 rpm and will get very hot. At the moment you turn off the engine you starve it of fresh oil, unless your cars oil pump keeps running. This will cause the oil in the turbo to fry off and means your turbo is spinning with no lubrication. Your turbo will need replacing if this is your driving style. There is also a potential oil sludge problem from this highly cooked oil left in the turbo.

4.) Driving at more than 1/2 of the rpm range on a cold engine! Don't use higher engine speeds when then engine is cold. Your engine is most at risk from damage when cold, so putting undue stress on it by high revving will exponentially increase the damage done. The heat causes the oil to flow and pistons to bed in, running high rpm before this process is complete causes problems. An inefficient burn on a cold engine will generate acids and other toxins that eat your engine.Don't sit with the engine idling either,  oil will take a short while to flow properly so ideally you would let the engine tick over for 3-10 seconds first and then drive off at a steady pace keeping under 2-3000 rpm (or half of the RPM range ).  This applies as much to modern engines with catalytic convertors as it does on older engines.

5.) Avoid those short journeys - Just as driving off too quickly damages an engine so will doing short journeys. On short journeys the engine never reaches its operating temperature and the acids of an inefficient cold burn will build up. So for the reasons detailed in the driving off too quickly do not drive short distances either. (Use the under 1 mile - walk philosophy!) The engine oil needs to reach its optimum viscosity to properly lubricate the main moving components in the engine. While cold the catalyst is unable to operate at peak efficiency thus reducing the life of your expensive catalyst. Diesel cars with particulate filters are also prone to clogging when driven on short journeys only!

6.) Don't rev the engine too high! The red line indicates the maximum ideal engine speed it does not mark the gear change point as some drivers insist. At peak RPM the engine is under enormous stress and the components are moving at their fastest speed. Peak power occurs before the redline so there is little to be gained driving at the redline. Any imbalances in the engine are particularly hazardous at high rpm and if you prolong the high rpm for a period of time you will more than likely cause a catastrophic engine failure. The older and more worn an engine is, the lower the red line should be. 

7.) Keeping your hand on the gear stick - So many people do this but it can, on many cars, cause premature gear wear. If the stick is connected directly to the gearbox the slightest pressure is transmitted to the gear selector. This light pressure is enough to cause wear. If done regularly enough then eventually your gearbox will start to grind and crunch as you change gear.

8.) Holding the clutch at biting point - Again keeping a foot on the clutch pedal is enough to prevent it from fully engaging and it will slip. This accelerates clutch wear. Keeping the clutch depressed in traffic or at traffic lights is also a bad idea. When the clutch is depressed your are forcing the clutch open against the release bearing. Eventually the release bearing will just give up having done 60,000 miles worth of pressure in just 10,000. Holding the clutch at biting point is even worse, this point is where most wear occurs.

9.) Wrong gear selection - Nothing strains an engine like forcing it to pull in the wrong gear. Too high gear selection will strain the bottom end of the engine - the crank and con rods. Choosing too low a gear will mean you are revving more than you need to so the top end of the engine is under stress - the valves, cams and lifters are working too hard.

10.) Driving a dirty car - This one is a little contentious but corrosion takes effect more easily on a car which is covered with a layer of dirt. The wet clings on longer and most dirt and grime contains acids that will eat the paint. A thorough clean each month (or preferably weekly) and a coat of good quality wax (not polish) will do much to enhance the cars defence against corrosion.

So how many of these are you guilty of? Have we missed any out? Why not join us in our active forum and chat with our friendly resident car enthusiasts to pick up some more top tips.

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