Driving Habits that Could be Damaging your Car

June 18th, 2021 by

Not only do you depend on your car for travel convenience, it is often an investment that ranks high with other major purchase decisions like buying a home or taking a vacation. Keeping your car in good shape with regularly scheduled maintenance will contribute to your family’s safety on the road and the longevity of your vehicle.

But, also consider the negative impact of bad driving habits on the life of your car. Almost all of these bad habits can be overcome and will help your engine, brakes and other automotive systems last a lot longer.

If you’re wondering what can damage your car, here are some driving habits to avoid.

5 Bad driving habits that damage your car

1. Driving in 1st gear at high speed

When you drive in first gear at a high rate of speed, you are essentially over-revving the engine and risk damage to your car’s clutch, pistons or transmission gear. Pay attention to your tachometer or indicator light that tells you when to shift gears to prevent a catastrophic engine failure.

Pay special attention to your gear shifting while driving a car loaded with extra weight or when going up a hill.

Bad Driving Habits that Damage Your Car

2. Improper brake usage

There are three times when car drivers are more likely to misuse the brakes. They are:

  • Riding or dragging the brakes while going downhill
  • Overloading the vehicle, which stresses the braking system
  • Frequent late braking or hard starts and stops

If you’ve ever driven with someone who punches the brakes, jerking the car just before they need to stop, you will understand this common negative driving habit. Not only does this lead to excessive wear and tear on brake pads, it is a dangerous driving habit that is attributed to not paying attention.

Also, overloaded old or new vehicles and drivers that ride the brakes while going downhill (instead of shifting into a lower gear) are causing their brakes to overheat and lose some of their stopping power.

3. Barreling over a pothole or speed bumps

Keep in mind urban roadways are littered with unsuspecting potholes and safety-enforcing speed bumps. The damage to your car by speeding over a pothole can be extensive. Car owners have reported damage to struts, shocks and suspension systems.

Slow down when approaching a pothole. Even zooming over speed bumps can bend some undercarriage components or cause a joint to loosen and may result in hydraulic fluid leakage.

Learn Bad Driving Habits that Could Damage Your Car

4. Driving on fumes

While no one would purposely want to run out of gas, many people have a habit of driving while running on empty. Gasoline in your tank helps keep your fuel system cool and prevents some car components from overheating. Driving your car on fumes negatively affects your catalytic converter and your fuel pump.

Keep your gas tank at least one-quarter full to prevent costly damage to your fuel system components. An empty tank can also cause dirt, sediment and debris to enter your fuel line.

5. Fast accelerations

Just like stopping too quickly, putting the pedal to the floor (especially while in first gear), can strain your car’s motor. When moving from a red to green light, or when accelerating after a stop sign, apply gradual pressure to the accelerator pedal to prevent jackrabbit starts that can deteriorate tires and engine parts.


  • Avoid fast accelerations on a cold engine or when driving in cold temperatures.
  • Avoid running on empty during the summer driving season, which can wear your fuel pump out faster.
  • Avoid resting your foot on the brake pedal while going downhill or in stop-and-go traffic to prevent overheating your brakes.

When your car needs repair for any reason, turn to us today at East Coast Toyota to learn how our service department can extend the life of your brakes, engine, and transmission components.

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