How much your bad driving habits will cost you: From slamming your doors to avoiding the car wash
Whether you drive a Bentley Continental or a Ford Fiesta, all car owners are familiar with that sinking feeling when you realise it’s time for a trip to the mechanic.
More than 10million British motorists are at risk of causing damage to their car that could cost at least £500 to put right because of their neglectful behaviour, new research has found.
Bad driving habits can cause costly repair bills for even the smallest of things – and now the list of dents and bumps most likely to put your vehicle in the shop has been revealed.
From not cleaning the exterior regularly to slamming doors shut, typical everyday actions can cause damage over time – adding hundreds of pounds to your invoice.
Hitting pot holes and speed bumps can also cause a number of different problems, as can shifting gear to reduce speed or riding the clutch.
Not taking your car to the car wash regularly – or getting the hose out yourself – can cause damage to the bodywork
Riding the clutch is another costly mistake, as replacing the clutch can set you back a whopping £568.65
The most common bad habits are avoiding the car wash and resting a hand on the gear stick, with research from the comparison website Comparethemarket showing that more than 18million Brits don’t know these habits can cause damage.
Slamming the doors shut can also cause damage to the body work of a car – something to consider after a stressful day at work.
Repairing a bodywork costs on average a wallet-depleting £353.47, whereas wear on a selector fork – as a result of resting the weight of your arm on the gear stick – will set you back £116.64.
Potholes are the bane of many motorists’ lives, and hitting them can be an expensive mistake. Replacing tyres costs £292.27 and repairing alloy wheels can be up to £135, while fixing an exhaust adds another £105.77 to the total.
Putting off a trip to fill up the tank can damage your fuel pump, the experts say, and replacing a fuel pump is very expensive, costing £500.
Riding the clutch will land you with a bill for £568.65 to replace it, and not using antifreeze or engine coolant in the winter is even more dear, as repairing a head gasket can cost £585.18.
Late braking can also cause expensive wear and tear because replacing worn-out brake pads will cost you up to £316.89.
But it is possible to change your habits for the better with a little bit of at-home car maintenance.
Julie Daniels, a car insurance expert, said: ‘It’s important to be aware of any potential bad driving habits you’ve picked up, and the impact these may have, to ensure that you aren’t unknowingly causing damage to your car.
‘If you do end up having to book your car in for a repair, you may wonder if it’s worth doing this through your car insurance.
Putting off a trip to fill up the tank can damage your fuel pump, the experts say, and replacing a fuel pump is very expensive
Not using antifreeze or engine coolant in the winter can cost motorists up to nearly £600 in damage
‘If the cost of repairs isn’t much more than your excess, it might be better to pay for the damage yourself and preserve your no-claims discount, as making a claim can often increase the cost of your car insurance premium.’
Expert mechanic Ron Podrasky said: ‘One of the worst driving habits is aggressively braking to a stop when driving fast. This can cause excessive brake wear and it glazes the rotors, which make the brakes less effective.
‘Not using the transmission to slow the vehicle down also increases brake component wear.
‘I would advise drivers to carry out manufacturer-recommended maintenance at the intervals suggested to keep their vehicles in the best condition possible.
‘Wash and, if possible, wax the exterior to keep the paint intact. And always act on strange noises or odd performance by getting the vehicle checked over by a mechanic.’
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.