Bad habits can be hard to shake. This is especially true when it comes to driving. Depending on how many years you’ve spent 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 behaviors you’ve picked up over the years? Check out this list of 10 habits that aren’t good for your car, according to Erie Insurance.
- Driving on empty. Critical components, like your vehicle’s fuel pump, aren’t designed to operate 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 can last for the life of your vehicle. But when you run your car on empty, the pump can overheat, which could lead to a costly failure. And because the gas tank typically needs to be drained and removed to replace the pump, this labor-intensive job could cost upward of $1,000 to repair.
- Revving a cold engine. It’s no fun getting into a freezing cold car. But there are no shortcuts to warming up a cold vehicle. So never rev up the engine in an effort to get the heat flowing faster. Doing this will only cause excess wear and tear on your engine because the cold engine oil isn’t at the right temperature to properly lubricate all its internal components.
- Delaying maintenance. Every vehicle manufacturer recommends following a routine maintenance schedule to keep your car running in tip-top shape. In the short term, it may seem like there’s no harm in skipping an oil change, air filter replacement or tire rotation. But the truth is, taking care of these preventative maintenance tasks now can save you from needing major repairs later.
- Ignoring warning lights. Modern cars feature a host of warning lights, and each is there to notify you of a particular problem with your vehicle. Ignoring these warning lights could leave you with a major repair down the road. Depending on the problem, it could even jeopardize the safety of you and your passengers. The next time that “check engine” light starts flashing, consult your car’s manual and if need be, take your car to a qualified mechanic to get it checked out.
- Driving through deep water. If you approach any kind of flooding, including large puddles of groundwater, you may be tempted to drive right through. 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 your vehicle’s engine, transmission and other critical components. It can also cause irreversible damage to your car’s complex electrical system. Because of this long-lasting damage, a flooded vehicle is often considered a total loss by insurance providers.
- Not checking your tire pressure. One of the easiest car maintenance tasks to ignore is checking your tire pressure. Not running your tires at the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure can cause a host of problems ranging from premature or uneven tire wear to bad handling and poor fuel economy. Experts recommend that you make a habit of checking your tire pressure once a month
- Riding the brakes. Your car’s brakes represent one of its most important safety systems. But hitting the brake pedal too hard, or using the brakes too often, can leave this system severely compromised. Overuse of your brakes can have long-term consequences, too. More braking means you’ll wear through pads and rotors faster, which translates to more frequent service intervals. You can also expect to pay more at the pump, thanks to lower fuel economy caused by frequent braking.
- Shifting without coming to a complete stop. If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, you may have fallen into the bad habit of shifting from “reverse” to “drive” while the car is still moving. Even if you’re moving backward at a slow speed, switching gears without coming to a complete stop puts extra stress on your car’s drivetrain—particularly the transmission. And chances are, the few seconds you save in the process aren’t worth the cost of a premature transmission service, which can cost $2,000 or more.
- Driving too fast over speed bumps. If you drive over a speed bump at a slow speed, your car will be unharmed. But hit a speed bump faster than about 10 miles per hour and you can do serious damage to your car. The sudden impact of a speed bump could cause your suspension to bottom out, damaging your shocks and struts. It could also bend other important suspension components or knock your car out of alignment.
- Ignoring a windshield chip. Leaving a windshield chip will increase the likelihood that the damage will get worse. Weather changes or simply driving over a pothole, speed bump or uneven terrain puts additional pressure on the edges of a chip, which can quickly turn into a crack. Repairing a chip is always less expensive than doing a full windshield replacement. It typically takes less than 30 minutes. Learn more about what to expect when filing a glass claim.