10 Bad Driving Habits | Shelter Insurance®

10 Driving Habits That Damage Your Car

  1. Not Using the Parking Brake – If your car has an automatic transmission, you might not think you need to use your emergency brake when you park on a hill. However, this puts undue pressure on your transmission. Without engaging the parking brake, there's only a 2-3 inch pin keeping the weight of your car in place.
  2. Putting Your Car in Gear Before You Come to a Complete Stop – Again, this one is for cars with an automatic transmission. If you don't wait until your car is at a complete stop before you shift gears, you're forcing your transmission to do what it's not meant to do, thereby damaging it.
  3. Riding the Clutch – If you have a manual transmission and your foot rarely leaves the clutch, that's a problem. You'll probably end up replacing your clutch frequently over the course of your car's lifetime. It will also damage your car's hydraulic system.
  4. Riding the Brakes – Driving too fast means you probably have to hit your brakes harder or have your foot on them longer to stop. And if you're going down a hill, it can be tempting to keep your foot on the brake pedal the whole time. However, both of these things will damage your brakes and you'll need to replace them more often.
  5. Not Filling Up –"E" doesn't mean "enough"! You have to stop for gas, and there are a variety of reasons why you may only put a little in instead of filling up. However, only putting in a little at a time means your car is using the gas at the bottom of the fuel tank, which might be dirty. That means it will clog your fuel filter and possibly send debris into the engine.
  6. Slamming the Pedals – Whether you have to stop suddenly or are in the habit of "jack rabbit" takeoffs, hitting the brakes or gas pedal hard can take a toll on your brake pads and your gas mileage.
  7. Resting Your Hand on the Shifter – Yes, even the slight weight of your hand can put pressure on the sliders in your transmission and cause wear. Who knew?
  8. Revving the Engine – If you want to warm your car up on a cold day, start it a few minutes early and let it idle. Chances are you're in your driveway, garage or a parking lot—not on Thunder Road. Revving it causes sudden temperature changes that the engine isn't ready for, but letting it warm up slowly gives the oil a chance to work its way through the engine.
  9. Ignoring Sounds – When your car makes a strange sound, sometimes it's easy to ignore. Other times it's more obvious—like when you're driving on the highway and it sounds like someone just hit the engine with a sledgehammer, then all the lights on your dash lit up like a Christmas tree. Don't ignore the noises or the lights—call a mechanic and see if what you heard is anything to worry about.
  10. Ignoring Oil Changes – There's a reason you should get your oil changed regularly. Engine oil gets dirty and that dirt circulating through your engine can make it work harder than it should and decrease its life.

Some of these things may be obvious, some may not. You may be doing some of these things without realizing it. Next time you drive, pay attention and see. You may be surprised!

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