Poor Driving Habits That Damage Your Vehicle

Poor Driving Habits That Damage Your Vehicle

September 11, 2023

We all have our driving quirks, but did you know that some of these habits could actually be causing damage to your car? From sudden stops to aggressive acceleration, our everyday actions behind the wheel can take a toll on our vehicles.

We usually think about car maintenance in terms of oil changes, tire rotations, and tune-ups, but the truth is how you drive matters just as much. Therefore, in this blog, we’ll look at some of the driving habits that could damage your car. 


Here are a few driving habits to avoid in order to maintain your car's health:


Do not ride the brakes

Riding the brakes while driving downhill or in stop-and-go traffic can overheat and weaken them. Instead of 'riding the brakes,' consider a smarter approach. Opt for a lower gear when descending steep slopes and maintain a cautious distance from other vehicles. Gradually easing off the accelerator can help you slow down without relying solely on your brakes. This way, you can extend their lifespan by a year or two and cut down on replacement costs.


Do not make frequent hard stops

Occasional emergency stops are part of driving, but responsible drivers should aim to avoid harsh braking whenever possible. Slamming on the brakes adds excessive strain to your brake system, potentially wearing down brake pads and discs prematurely. While it might be instinctive to stomp on the brakes for a sudden stop, this habit can result in significant long-term damage. To prevent this issue, focus on defensive driving techniques and anticipate potential hazards ahead, reducing your reliance on abrupt braking during emergencies.


Do not speed over speed bumps and potholes

Unfortunately, some drivers today don't pay enough attention to speed bumps and potholes, leading to unnecessary wear, tear, and wheel alignment issues. 

This habit can gradually harm a car's suspension, tires, and shocks, resulting in costly repairs, so avoiding them whenever possible is wise. To prevent this, you should slow down when approaching bumps and potholes. Remember, slower speeds mean less wear and tear on your vehicle. 


Do not shift from drive to reverse before stopping

Quickly shifting from reverse to drive without a full stop is a common but damaging habit for your vehicle. Shifting gears before stopping can wear out the transmission band instead of the brake components, making repairs labor-intensive and expensive. This also applies to manual cars, where shifting without a full stop can harm the transmission. Speed-shifting from reverse to drive may seem like a time-saver, but it is a damaging practice for your vehicle and can lead to costly repairs.


Read: 14 Tips to Lower Your Car Maintenance Costs


Do not tailgate

It's essential to maintain an appropriate following distance when driving, and a general guideline is to keep at least a three-second gap between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This distance allows you to react safely in case the vehicle in front suddenly stops or encounters an obstacle.

However, in adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, snow, or icy roads, it's advisable to increase your following distance. When the road is slippery, your car may take longer to come to a complete stop. Therefore, leaving an additional second or more of space between you and the vehicle ahead provides you with extra reaction time, reducing the risk of a collision.


Do not rev a cold engine

Starting your car and letting it idle for a few minutes is good practice to warm up the engine and allow the oil to move around,  preventing potential damage and unnecessary wear and tear.

However, avoid revving the engine when it's still cold. Revving it too early can harm engine parts that haven't had enough time to get lubricated properly by the oil. It can also cause sudden temperature changes that might damage parts. So, wait for your engine to warm up before giving it a good rev. 


Do not drive with low fuel in the tank

Gasoline helps cool down parts in your fuel system. In newer cars, the fuel pump is inside the fuel tank and relies on the fuel to keep it cool. So, if your tank is nearly empty, it can lead to overheating and problems in your fuel pump, fuel system, and catalytic converter. To avoid these issues, it's a good idea to fill up your tank when it reaches around a quarter full.


Do not overload your car

It's a good idea to clean out your trunk and only carry what you need. Carrying extra weight can impact your fuel efficiency and put extra stress on your car's suspension, brakes, and drivetrain.

Modern cars are built to handle a lot, but there's a limit. Your owner's manual will tell you the maximum weight your car can safely carry. If you must carry heavy items, consider using a bigger car or fitting larger tires to reduce the strain.

In conclusion, your driving habits play a significant role in your car's longevity and overall health. While regular maintenance is essential, practicing responsible driving can save you from costly repairs and extend your vehicle's lifespan. By adopting these responsible driving practices, you can enjoy a smoother ride and fewer trips to the mechanic, ultimately saving you time and money in the long run.