5 Driving Habits That Are Killing Your Engine

poor driving habits

We all have bad habits. We bite our nails, put the empty cereal box back in the cupboard, and twiddle our hair during important meetings. These habits are annoying for sure, but for the most part they’re harmless.

Not so for your bad driving habits. While you’re zipping around town doing what you need to do, you’re hurting your engine and you probably don’t even know it. That’s why it’s so important to step back and take a moment to really think about how you drive. Are you guilty of these bad driving habits?

Letting the gas gauge drop to ‘’E’’

The victim: Fuel pump and engine

Why you might do it: Because you pride yourself on getting every last drop out of the fuel tank before filling it. That, and getting gas is an expensive pain in the butt.

Why it’s a no-no: Not only do you risk being stranded far from civilization—an inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing situation—but it’s also not good for your engine. Over time, dirt and particles settle on the floor of your gas tank. If you’re down to your last bit of gas, it’s going to be contaminated with that crud. Hopefully the fuel filter will catch it, but if it doesn’t it could clog a fuel injector and cause poor engine performance.

And, being stingy with gas is also bad for your fuel pump. The moment your pump starts sucking air, you’ve lost the cooling effect of the fuel, which is essential to the life of your pump. The pump will also have to work extra hard to propel fuel to your engine.

All of this stress and strain can cause your pump to burn out. And when that happens, you can’t get gas to the engine and your car will not start. Oh, and you’ll have to have a new pump installed. Not a cheap job.

What to do instead: Fill ‘er up.



Not using your parking brake

The victim: Transmission

Why you might do it: The old “it won’t happen to me” syndrome

Why it’s a no-no: Your transmission is not a kickstand. When you park on a slope and don’t engage your parking brake, it puts all of the vehicle’s weight on a tiny metal catch inside the transmission. If you’re doing this all the time, or if another car were to bump you, even lightly, the catch could become worn out or break altogether, and your car could roll away. And then, once you find your car (assuming it’s still in one piece), your transmission will require internal service to replace the broken part.

What to do instead: When you’re on unsteady ground, use your parking brake. Just don’t forget to disengage it before you drive you away.



Revving the engine while the car is still cold

The victim: Your entire engine

Why you might do it: To impress chicks/guys

Why it’s a no-no: This activity is both pointless and annoying and can damage your engine if it’s not properly warmed up. When you first start your engine, especially if it’s chilly outside, it takes a moment for the oil to fully circulate. In other words, for those first few seconds, your engine’s precious parts are not fully protected. So if you rev your engine right away, you’ll put extra wear and tear on parts that are probably expensive to replace.

What to do instead: Less vroom-vroom, more purr-purr.



Shifting before your car comes to a complete stop

The victim: Transmission

Why you might do it: You’re running late

Why it’s a no-no: So you’re in a hurry, and you pull out of a parking space and shift into drive while the car is still coasting backwards. You’ve just shaved a few months off the life of your transmission.

When you switch from reverse to drive (or vice-versa) without first coming to a complete stop, you’re basically asking your transmission to act as your brakes. That puts an incredible amount of stress on a very small area, leading to a worn out transmission.

What to do instead: Reverse. Stop. Drive. (And no, a rolling stop doesn’t count).



Accelerating like a maniac then slamming on the brakes

The victim: Your entire engine (and your poor brakes)

Why you might do it: To try and beat the light

Why it’s a no-no: When you take off too quickly, you force your engine to work harder by pumping and using more fuel, and put heavy strain on all of its parts. The result? A stressed-out engine. The more smoothly you start and stop, the more life you’ll get out of your car.

What to do instead: No pedal to the metal. Drive like you love your car.


Have you been unkind to your vehicle? We can help. Contact us and we’ll right your wrongs and have your vehicle running like new!


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