Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Top 10 Bad Driving Habits That Damage Your Car

Bad Driving Habits

Your vehicle is one of your most costly possessions, and it’s certainly one on which you heavily depend. So, you want it to last as long as possible. Even if you have the proper vehicle maintenance measures in place, there may be important day-to-day responsibilities you overlook that have a negative impact on the life of your car.

Here are the top 10 bad driving habits that can cause inadvertent but significant harm to your car:

  1. Ignoring the Parking Brake: When you park on an incline, use the parking brake even if you don’t think it’s necessary (read: your car has an automatic transmission). If you don’t, you put pressure on your transmission, where there’s just a small little pin the size of your pinky finger, known as the parking pawl, keeping the whole weight of your car in place.

  2. Shifting Into Drive or Reverse When Not Completely Stopped: In a car with an automatic transmission, making the shift into Drive or Reverse isn’t like switching from first gear to second in a manual. You force your transmission to do things it’s not intended to do, and that can cause damage to your drive shafts and suspension.

  3. Riding the Clutch: In cars with manual transmissions, drivers sometimes keep the clutch engaged when it’s not time to brake or shift gears. This can wreak havoc with the hydraulic system where the pressure plates meet the flywheel. Riding the clutch causes those plates to graze the flywheel willy-nilly, wearing down the system in general and potentially setting you up for sudden clutch failure in the future.

  4. Regularly Adding Small Amounts of Fuel to the Gas Tank: Although there may be times when you just can’t afford to fill the tank entirely or plan to wait for a better fuel deal, adding a few gallons of gas at a time and regularly running with low levels of fuel can actually hurt your car. That’s because it forces your car to take gas from the bottom of the tank, where there is sediment build-up. This can lead to a clogged fuel filter or debris passing into the engine.

  5. Riding the Brakes Downhill: Despite feeling like you’re poised to stop in an emergency, riding the brakes while going down hills, or even in general, causes undue wear and tear on your braking system. Driving in this manner actually sets you up for a higher risk of brake failure, so try driving in a lower gear instead, if you have the option.

  6. Sudden Stops and Take-Offs: Regularly slamming on the brake or gas pedal takes a large toll on your gas mileage and can even cause deterioration on parts like your brake pads and rotors.

  7. Using the Shift Lever as a Hand Rest: Unless you’re a professional racecar driver, there’s really no reason to drive around with your hand resting on your car’s shifter. The weight of your hand actually puts load on the sliders within your transmission, causing unnecessary wear.

  8. Carrying Heavy Loads You Don’t Need: It’s one thing to load your car down when helping a friend move or carrying tools to your job, but driving around with a bunch of extra weight for no reason decreases your gas mileage significantly and puts extra stress on all of your car’s components.

  9. Improperly “Warming Up” Your Car: While there’s nothing wrong with starting your car and letting it idle for a few minutes before you leave the house on a cold morning, revving the engine right off the bat to “warm it up” is a bad idea. This causes sudden temperature changes that can actually harm your car and forces the engine to work under load before the oil has a chance to fully circulate.

  10. Ignoring What Your Car Tries to “Tell” You: It’s not uncommon for your car to make unusual noises before mechanical issues make themselves known in more obvious (read: severe) ways. You know what your car should sound like, so putting off investigating a new rattle or hum only allows a problem to fester and get worse. When something starts to sound amiss, contact us to book a mechanic who can diagnose the issue and put things back in order.

If you’re guilty of any of these common bad driving habits, put your new knowledge to use today. Do you have any “good-driver” tips we missed? Send them to us at gooddriver@yourmechanic.com.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: Car misfire

They do not need to be replaced and be in the same shape but it sometimes is recommended to replace all of the coils at the same time since they seem to start failing one after the other in a...

Q: Fuel gauge acting erratically

It's possible that you have a problem with your fuel gauge. The only way to tell is to pull the fuel pump out and check resistance on the sending unit. I would suggest having a certified technician come out and...

Q: How do I set the speed control?

The speed control allows you to set your vehicle at a specific speed, and then maintain that speed without keeping your foot on the pedal. To set the speed control, follow these steps: 1. Turn the speed control on, by...