What are some of the worst habits that could be damaging your car?

When you stop to think about it, our cars take a lot of wear and tear from us on a daily basis. Some people depend on their vehicle to get them from point A to point B each day, which can take minutes, or hours. Some people eat in their cars. Others subject them to busy streets and heavy traffic. Others take them out of the city and off the beaten path to experience a bit more freedom and an active lifestyle.

You may not often think about how much your car does for you on a daily basis. Or, how much you might put it through. Some natural wear and tear is bound to happen, which also depreciates the value of your vehicle.

But, certain habits you might have can actually further damage your car beyond that “standard” wear and tear. When you do that, the value depreciates even faster, and you could find yourself with a car that has a lot of mechanical or cosmetic issues. Or, you might have a hard time selling your vehicle when you’re ready to buy a new car.

Unfortunately, far too many of these damaging habits can go unnoticed until it’s too late. You might not realize that you’re doing something harmful to your car until it starts to cause you trouble.

So, what are some of the worst habits that could be damaging your car? The sooner you recognize them, the easier it will be to put a stop to them and start showing your car a little bit more love!

Ignoring Regular Service Appointments

One of the worst mistakes you can make with your vehicle is failing to keep it well-maintained.

When you’re driving your car every day, you’re putting a lot of expectations on it that it may not always be able to live up to. If you haven’t checked under the hood in a while, or you don’t know the state of your tires or other aspects of your vehicle, you could be putting it (and yourself) at risk.

Unless you’re a mechanic or a car professional, you probably won’t be able to tell if something is wrong with your car until it becomes a big problem. Unfortunately, by that point, you’re probably going to end up spending a lot of money to get the car repaired. What may be even worse, however, is that some problems could put you in danger.

For example, if you’re driving on a busy street with tires that should have been replaced long ago, one of them could blow out. If you’re not expecting such a thing, you may have trouble gaining control of the car, and you might put yourself at risk of an accident.

tyres servicing

Additionally, if your car has engine problems, it could overheat or “die” at any time, leaving you “stranded” until someone can come help. More often than not, this situation will require your car to get towed to a professional shop or a mechanic, which will end up costing even more money.

So, while you might think you’re saving by not taking your car in for maintenance, it will end up costing you, in the long run. Regular maintenance by a professional will showcase any problems with your vehicle early on. The earlier these problems are caught and diagnosed, the easier they often are to fix. It will take less time, cost less money, and actually increase the overall longevity of your vehicle.

Regular car maintenance should include:

  • Oil changes
  • Tire rotations and inspections
  • Checking fluids
  • Checking wiper blades and brake pads
  • Inspecting the battery

If you don’t know how to do those things yourself or you aren’t confident in your skills, taking your car to a professional you can trust should always be a priority.

Person wiping down a car after cleaning

Leaving It Unclean

Allowing your car to be unclean is just another way of neglecting it. Keeping it untidy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got a bit of rubbish inside from a stop at a drive-thru or you have a few of your child’s toys strewn about.

But, if your car is truly unclean, it could quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. Not only can that damage your car but it can negatively impact your health, too.

If your car gets extremely dirty, it could actually be dangerous. When was the last time you cleaned your windshield or mirrors? Even the slightest hindrance in your visibility can make a big difference and can slow your reaction time. Because of that, you may be more likely to get into an accident. Additionally, if your car is filled with clutter, something could get stuck beneath the pedal, which could make it impossible to hit the gas or brake effectively. Again, that puts you at a greater risk of an accident, which obviously could cause a lot of damage to both your car and you.

It doesn’t take much to keep your car clean. So, make it a priority to “deep clean” once a month, including washing your windows and clearing away clutter.

Letting Your Fuel Get Low

Sometimes, fuel prices can be enough to make anyone feel stressed. So, you might drive around as much as possible without filling up in the hopes that prices will go down. But, you could be damaging your car by “driving on fumes”.

Gasoline doesn’t just make your car go. It actually works as a coolant within your fueling system. When there isn’t enough gasoline in that system, parts within the tank can start to overheat, which will cause them to work improperly. If you completely run out of fuel, the entire system could become damaged and will need to be repaired. If you were trying to save money on petrol, imagine how much you’ll be spending on a new fuel system!

A good rule of thumb is to fill up your vehicle whenever you get below a quarter of a tank. In the end, saving a nominal amount of money on gasoline isn’t worth it if you’re putting your fuel system at risk in the process.


Driving Roughly

If you have an SUV or any kind of tough, heavy vehicle, it’s easy to feel like you’re invincible when you’re on the road. While it might be fun to drive like your car can’t be damaged, that usually isn’t the case.

There are a few different bad driving habits that could be damaging your car more than you realize. First, you should avoid slamming into potholes. Unfortunately, they are unavoidable on the roads during certain times of the year. But, you should either try to avoid them completely or drive over them very slowly. When you speed over a pothole, you could seriously damage your tire, or even cause it to blow out. Even if your tires manage to make it, you may end up doing damage to your car’s suspension or alignment. That’s a problem that will only get worse over time.

Additionally, you shouldn’t drive fast over any speed bumps. While they are typically found in parking areas and not necessarily the road, it can be tempting to “fly” over them quickly. But, the same type of damage could occur, messing up your alignment or even your steering.

Hard starts at stops are another “rough driving” habit that you should try to break. When you stop roughly and quickly, your brakes will wear out faster. If you start to notice your brakes squeaking when you do a hard stop, it’s a sign that the brake pads are wearing thin and may need to be replaced. Hard starts, on the other hand, can waste fuel and lower your gas mileage. Whenever possible, stop and start your car smoothly and slowly to boost its longevity.

Finally, never rev an engine when it’s cold. While it might sound cool, it can actually do more harm than good. Revving a cold engine can cause a lot of wear on the parts within the engine very quickly. That will eventually lead to damaged parts that will need to be fixed or replaced by a professional. The damage occurs when the parts aren’t able to be properly lubricated because there isn’t enough oil circulation.

Always let your engine warm up before you decide to rev it. Even waiting a few minutes can make a big difference.

Forming Better Habits for Your Vehicle

As you can see, there are plenty of bad car habits that could be harming your vehicle, and you may not even realize it. But, it’s important to keep these habits in mind for the overall safety, performance, and wellbeing of your car.

Thankfully, these habits are very easy to change. It’s a matter of making your car a priority. Chances are, you rely on it every day to get you where you need to go. So, don’t take it for granted. If you treat your car poorly, whether you’re realizing it or not, it won’t last as long as it should, and can end up giving you a lot of problems.

But, by changing these bad habits and taking better care of your car, you can increase its lifespan, spend less money, and have fewer worries about its dependability.



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