10 Common Habits That Could Be Bad For Your Car, SUV, or Personal Vehicle

10 Common Habits That Could Be Bad For Your Car, SUV, or Personal Vehicle

Photo of Shepard Price

May 13, 2022

Rear view shot of a young man standing on top of a car with his arms outstretched in a rural landscape.

Charday Penn/Getty Images

Common bad habits can be bad for cars, according to a new report from Erie Insurance‘s list of 10 bad habits that are not good for vehicles.

These bad habits can negatively affect a vehicle’s life and how it functions. Here are 10 habits to avoid while driving.

  1. Parts of a car are not designed to be driven with the fuel tank drained, so do not drive on empty. The fuel pump, which is submerged in the gas tank, is one of those parts and uses fuel to cool and lubricate mechanisms in the pump. When a car runs empty, the pump can overheat, which can lead to an expensive replacement. The repair would cost more than $1,000.
  2. Never run the engine in an effort to get the heat flowing faster on a cold day. This causes excessive wear on an engine because the cold engine oil is not at the right temperature to properly lubricate all internal components.
  3. Every car manufacturer recommends a routine maintenance schedule to keep a car in top condition, so never delay maintenance. Taking preventive measures, such as an oil change, air filter replacement or tire changes, can prevent major repairs in the long run.
  4. Each warning light alerts the driver to a particular problem with the vehicle, and ignoring warning lights can result in major repairs being necessary. Don’t ignore warning lights as some can also lead to safety issues for drivers and passengers.
  5. Turn around and find another route before going through deep water or any kind of flooding, including large pools of groundwater. Driving through deep water can damage or destroy a vehicle’s engine, transmission and other components. Driving through deep water can also cause damage to a car’s electrical system. Flooded vehicles are often considered a total loss by insurers.
  6. Failure to operate the tires at the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure can cause a variety of problems, including premature or uneven tire wear or poor fuel economy. Experts recommend checking tire pressures once a month.
  7. Braking too often or pressing the brake pedal too hard can compromise the braking system, and overuse can have long-term effects, such as faster wear on brake pads and rotors, which translates into more frequent service intervals. Frequent braking also reduces fuel consumption.
  8. Shifting from reverse to automatic transmission driving before coming to a complete stop, even at low speeds, can create the need for premature transmission services because shifting without a full stop puts additional strain on a vehicle’s powertrain, especially the transmission. The transmission service can cost $2,000 or more.
  9. Hitting a speed bump at more than about 10 miles per hour can cause serious damage to a car, with the sudden impact causing the car’s suspension to sag. Hitting speed bumps too quickly can also bend key suspension components or throw your car out of alignment, as well as damage shocks and struts.
  10. Leaving a chip on the windshield makes the damage more likely to get worse. Changes in the weather or driving over a pothole, speed bump or uneven terrain puts extra pressure on the edges of a chipboard and turns it into a crack. Repairing a chip is less expensive than a full windshield replacement and typically takes less than 30 minutes.