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MOTORING: These driving mistakes can kill your vehicle

Kampala, Uganda | MOTORING GURU | Many drivers do things on the road that they should not be doing. Some are mistakes, results of ignorance, and outright recklessness. As a consequence, many motorists end up in the garage when they would not if they were just a bit more careful, cautious, and courteous. Here are some of those bad things we do on the road which we could easily avoid and save our garage money and our vehicles.

Failing to fix tyres

Tyres are thin things; with 10/32″ to 11/32″ of original tread depth. And, normally, only a small portion of a tyre touches the road. But for your vehicle, those inches can mean blessings or bruises. The treads in the tyre are designed to ensure that they have a good grip on the road at all times. So you need to ensure that your tyres are not smooth (unless you are driving a Formula One car!). Smooth tyres can be very dangerous in wet conditions when they encourage a thin layer of water between them and the road. This leads to a phenomenon called aquaplaning and you don’t want to be flying off the road.

Driving on empty

Many motorists appear to treat the fuel in their vehicle as if it has an expiry date. So they put in as little as possible, ensuring that the gauge never leaves the empty zone. What many do not realise is that a fuel tank collects dregs and when the fuel is low, some taka taka gets sucked into the vehicle fuel system. In really nasty situations, they may block the fuel system or even damage the engine. So give the vehicle some juice to suck on. It will save you a pointless expense.

Hitting speeding humps

Most urban centres have many of these in various shapes and sizes. Some are outright annoying; like those on Kayunga Road and it takes the patience of the Biblical prophets not to hit them. I always never hit them because I know what that could do to my suspensions. I also know that it might not happen immediately, but hitting speed humps can damage shock absorbers, the steering rack, various bushes and bearings, and even joints and springs. Do I really want to incur all that cost merely for the one second joy of quickly jumping over a hump? No way. I like to enjoy the smooth and comfortable ride that a good suspension system provides over a long time, so I guard my suspension. In fact, I avoid hitting anything with my under belly; be it potholes or kerbs.

Overloading vehicle

You should try to avoid overloading your vehicle and putting undue strain on the suspension for unnecessary and extended periods of time. Check the manual to make sure you have not exceeded the maximum load, as doing so could damage the brakes, clutch, tyres, and suspension.

Not adjusting mirrors correctly

Side view and rear-view mirrors help you to make split second decisions. Ensure that they are adjusted for maximum visibility of vehicles behind you or next to you, reducing the size of your blind spot as much as possible. Invest in blind spot mirrors if your vehicle does not come equipped with them or a blind spot warning system.

Skipping routine vehicle checks

If an indicator is not working, tyre pressure is too low, or de-foggers do not clear windshields like they should, it could lead to anything from a bumper bashing to loss of life. Make sure that your vehicle is frequently checked and serviced at the required intervals.

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