Bad habits can be hard to shake off. This is especially true when it comes to driving your car. Depending on how many years you’ve been behind the wheel, certain habits may be deeply ingrained by now. And many of them can be bad for your car.
Wondering if there are any bad driving habits or behaviors you’ve picked up over the years? Checking out Erie Insurance‘s list of 10 habits that are not good for your car.
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1. Empty driving. Critical components, such as your vehicle’s fuel pump, are not designed to run without gas. The fuel pump is submerged in the gas tank, where it uses fuel to cool and lubricate the mechanisms in the pump. Most fuel pumps will last the life of your vehicle. But when you drain your car, the pump can overheat, which can lead to a costly breakdown. And because the gas tank typically needs to be drained and removed to replace the pump, this labor-intensive job can cost upwards of $1,000 to repair.
2. Touring with a cold engine. It’s no fun getting into an ice-cold car. But there are no shortcuts to warming up a cold vehicle. So never run the engine in an attempt to make the heat flow faster. This will only lead to excessive wear on your engine because the cold engine oil will not be at the right temperature to properly lubricate all internal components.
3. Postpone maintenance. Every car manufacturer recommends following a routine maintenance schedule to keep your car in top condition. In the short term, it may seem like there is no harm in skipping an oil change, air filter change, or tire change. But the truth is, doing these preventative maintenance tasks can save you from needing major repairs later.
4. Ignore hazard lights. Modern cars come with a myriad of warning lights and each is there to notify you of a particular problem with your vehicle. If you ignore these warning lights, you could face a major repair later on. Depending on the problem, it could even endanger the safety of you and your passengers. The next time the “check engine” light starts flashing, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual and if necessary take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic for a checkup.
5. Driving through deep water. As you approach a flood, including large pools of groundwater, you may be tempted to drive right through it. But your best – and safest – course of action is always to turn around and find another route. Driving through deep water can damage or destroy the engine, transmission and other critical parts of your vehicle. It can also cause irreparable damage to your car’s complex electrical system. Because of this long-term damage, a flooded vehicle is often considered a total loss by insurers.
6. Not checking your tire pressure. One of the easiest car maintenance tasks to ignore is checking your tire pressure. If your tires are not used with the air pressure recommended by the manufacturer, it can cause a host of problems ranging from premature or uneven tire wear to poor handling and low fuel consumption. Experts recommend making it a habit to check your tire pressure once a month
7. Ride on the brakes. Your car’s brakes are one of the most important safety systems. But pressing the brake pedal too hard or braking too often can seriously compromise this system. Overuse of your brakes can also have long-term consequences. More braking means the pads and rotors wear faster, which translates into more frequent service intervals. You can also expect to pay more at the pump, thanks to the lower fuel consumption resulting from frequent braking.
8. Shifting gears without coming to a complete stop. If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, you may have gotten into a bad habit of shifting from “reverse” to “drive” while the car is still moving. Even if you’re backing up at a slow speed, shifting gears without coming to a complete stop puts extra strain on your car’s powertrain, especially the transmission. And chances are, the few seconds you save in the process aren’t worth the cost of an early transmission service, which can cost $2,000 or more.
9. Speeding over speed bumps. Driving over a speed bump at low speed will keep your car unharmed. But hitting a speed bump faster than about 10 miles per hour can cause serious damage to your car. The sudden impact of a speed bump can cause your suspension to sag, damaging your shocks and struts. It can also bend other major suspension components or align your car.
10. Ignore a windshield chip. Leaving a chip on the windshield increases the chance that the damage will get worse. Changes in the weather or simply driving over a pothole, speed bump or uneven terrain puts extra pressure on the edges of a chip, which can quickly turn into a crack. Repairing a chip is always cheaper than replacing a complete windscreen. It usually takes less than 30 minutes. Learn more about what to expect when filing a glass claim.