Driving Habits That Are Damaging To A Car

By Aaron Love 11 months ago

Changing Gears To Reduce Speed

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Do you often wonder why your car is breaking down so often and how these damages are appearing without you crashing or hitting an object? Well then maybe it's because of how you are driving. Something simples such as changing to a lower gear in order to slow yourself down can have lasting negative effects on your vehicle. This seemingly insignificant driving habit can cause damage to different parts of the car such as the clutch, transmission and the drivetrain. This can also shorten the lifespan of your engine.

Resting On Your Gear Stick

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Is your car finding itself in need of fixing due to unexpected issues and damages occurring while you are driving? Then maybe you are resting on your gear stick too often and you are unconsciously causing some serious damage to your car. This bad habit is one that you are often told off for when you are learning to drive but often creeps back in as soon as the protection of those L plates are removed. This can cause your transmission to falter. By applying pressure to the gear shift you can cause the rotator collar to wear prematurely.

Flooring The Accelerator In A Higher Gear

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The ability to find the perfect time to change gears over the years has become easier and easier and this is could be due to the advancements in technology and understanding the proper use of your rev counter but now they often include a prompt light informing you when to change gear. If you currently have a bad habit of not taking this advice then you may be putting your car at risk of damage. When you accelerate in too high of a gear it puts unnecessary pressure and strain on the engine as well as its motor. If this occurs then you may find yourself without a car.

Overloading Your Car

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In the modern day we are all used to pilling our belongings in our car to make our lives easier and we do this without so much as a second thought. Our modern cars are specifically designed to carry heavy loads and cater to our needs. It is crucial to find out how much your car can hold by looking at its manual as if you continue the bad habit of overloading the car then you may cause some quite extensive damage. This overloading will place a massive strain on the cars suspension as well as its brakes and drivetrain as well as causing the car to produce more emissions.

Hard Braking

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We can all be found guilty of excessively using our brakes from time to time but would you maintain this truly dangerous habit if you knew how potentially life threatening to your car. Well then maybe you should consider changing how you drive so that you do not cause lasting damage to your mode of transport. There can be many negatives to harshly applying your brakes with one of them being the serious wear and pressure that they cause to the brake pads and discs which can be quite expensive to replace as well as the wear on the tyres.

Eating While Driving

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There is a lot of scepticism around whether or not it is legal to eat while you are driving. Well maybe you will think twice about doing this when you learn that despite being legal eating while driving is one of the most common reasons as to why drivers use concentration while driving leading you to endanger  yourself as well as your passengers and other drivers on the road as if you slip or a spillage of your food can cause you to unintentionally swerve and hit curbs, fences or much worse another car. So is it really worth to eat while you drive when you may be risking your car and your health?

Changing From Park To Reverse Before Stopping

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While learning to drive we taught how to do many things and the exact way in which we should do this so that we do not damage our car or cause unnecessary issues. You are taught that you should place your car in neutral as you stop and then proceed to change gear to reverse. If you get stuck in the habit of changing gear straight into reverse then you may be causing some quite worrying damage to your car. This awful driving habit can cause your transmission to incur serious wear and tear as well as damage to your brake pads and discs.

Going Over Speedbumps

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You may not think much of driving over speed bumps when you are travelling to work in a hurry or even when you are on a nice peaceful drive to calm yourself and relax. Well it is well known that a lot of drivers approach speed bumps at a greater speed than what is recommended but by doing this you may cause your vehicle a detrimental amount of damage. By approaching speed bumps at a high speed it can cause structural damage to your cars wheels due to the how firm the bumps are which can ultimately cause lumps in your tyres, cracked alloys and your cars tracking.

Not Getting Maintenance

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When you learn to drive you are made to remember what each of the different lights mean when they are displayed on your dashboard and can often mean that your car is in need of maintenance. Although some maintenance jobs are not very serious such as the need to refill your windscreen was as well as if one of your lightbulbs have went out. However, if you postpone a cars service and checks then this may cause your car to develop some rather greater issues than what it may have at the time due to the pressures placed on the car.

Driving Over Potholes

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We all know how dangerous potholes can be when whether that is in a car or in whilst walking. They large holes in the ground cause a lot of issues and problems for cars. It can be a bad habit of drivers to not pay attention to the potholes in the road and they can cause serious damage to your tyres causing them to go flat and puncture as well as cracking and deforming the alloys and internal structure of the wheel causing the tracking of the car to waiver and disrupt the balance of the car. It can also cause issues for the undercarriage, more commonly the exhaust system.

Not Cleaning Your Interior

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Many people take great pride in their car and often like to clean them as often as they can to maintain the beauty and luxury of their vehicle but also to maintain their own reputation and make it a place where friends, families, and most importantly romantic partners feel comfortable and happy to ride in. But some fall into the habit of not cleaning the inside of their car dealing it not as important as the exterior but by not cleaning up any crumbs, dust or debris it can cause damage to the material in the car including ripping seats and scratching your dashboard.

Neglecting Warning Lights

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It is highly important that we are always paying attention to the health of our vehicles and are observant of our cars problems. Neglecting our cars is a very common habit of drivers as typically drivers are unwilling to admit faults or damages to their cars as this will mean that they may have to pay a large sum of money to fix the issue. Most commonly this occurs when the issue the is internal such as damages to the cooling systems, braking system, car traction and engine. These lights often are very obvious when displayed on the cars dashboard.

Revving Your Engine

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Some people really enjoy the sound of their prized car purring in the cold weather and hearing the rattling of the engine and exhaust when you apply some revs. But did you know that this addictive habit can cause your car some unprecedented problems. This often happens when drivers make short meaningless journeys as this does not give the cars oil enough time to warm up and revving the engine can cause this to happen unnaturally and too quickly which can then result in your engine becoming damaged and going through unnecessary wear and tear.

Texting While Driving

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It is very well documented that people should not be using their mobile phones while driving and especially not texting as this requires a great amount of attention and focus on the phone rather than on the road and how they are driving. This habit is horribly dangerous and not to mention incredibly illegal and can result in a large fine and ban from driving. Texting while driving can also be damaging for your car as if you lose focus then you may drift on the road and end up hitting a curb resulting a punctured tyre and maybe even more damage to your wheel.

Driving In Too High Of A Gear

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When we are learning to drive we often become fearful of climbing up the gears due to the fears of driving at too great of a speed as well as the time it takes to change gears. However, after passing your driving test it becomes second nature to reach the top gears and become more comfortable doing so making it more habitual. But if you are constantly driving in a higher gear then this would imply that you are driving at a high speed which can be damaging to your fuel consumption and may result in you running out during your journey and breaking down.

Riding Your Clutch

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The overuse of the clutch and drivers instance of riding their clutch while driving can be a very common amongst all drivers for varying reasons. Some drivers do this for comfort so that they feel secure in being able to reach their biting point when doing a hill start and others do this through a lack of patience and a want for a quick start when the driver is able to proceed. But this somewhat unconscious habit can cause the clutch to wear due to it being one of the most important pedal. This is also dangerous as if you foot slips it may result in a crash.

Breaking Late

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As humans we often feel as though we are constantly in a rush and have a deep rooted desire to get to our destination as quickly as possible which can often result in us waiting until the last minute to decide whether we need to brake or not when approaching lights of a stop sign. This awful habit of late braking can also be a very useful manoeuvre when stopping in the occasion of cars pulling out and pedestrians walking out into the road. This use of braking can cause your car a large amount of wear and tear on your tyres as well as your brakes system.

Running Down Your Fuel

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The constant battle between making it to our destination and the amount of fuel we have available to us is constant and the debate of when is the best time to fill up your vehicle in order to get the best miles per gallon rate that they could. But if you are in the habit bit of allowing your fuel to run down to empty before refuelling then you may be causing considerable damage to your car. But doing this causes a large amount of wear and tear when trying to pump fuel as their is not a sufficient amount of fuel to lubricate the pump.

Resting Your Foot On Your Clutch

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The over use of the clutch is very well documented and when it is constantly being used it can cause serious problems for your car. But the overuse of the clutch is not always down to riding your clutch or constantly changing gear sometimes it may be due to you simply resting your foot on the clutch, this is a bad habit to get into. By doing this you are unconsciously activating your gear and brake systems which can suet in the gear stick falling out of gear and damaging the rotator this also comes with damage to the clutch which can be a very expensive item to fix.

Applying Your Makeup While Driving

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As humans we often find ourselves behind schedule or in the common situation where we are not ready in time for the appointment, interview or night out and we need to finish getting ready while we drive to our destination. The most common example of this is the habit of applying makeup while driving which ultimately is a bad habit that causes the driver to divert their attention from the road and therefore place themselves and others in harm's way as if they fail to stop in time due to being distracted it could result in a very damaging accident.

Turning At The Wrong Time

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Turning is arguably the most difficult part of driving and trying to identify your opportunity to pull out of a junction or at a roundabout. Some drivers even choose to avoid routes where they do not have to make difficult turns or too many turns on a singular journey due to their uncertainty as to how to approach the turn. This bad habit can cause a driver a lot of trouble as by doing this they may encounter slower routes but more crucially by being more hesitant you may run the risk of pulling out of a junction at the wrong time and causing an accident.

Breaking For Too Long

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The miss application of braking is a very common issue amongst drivers who often fall fault but by miss applying your brakes too often and for too long in one period of time then it can cause some quite significant damages to your vehicle. If you are a driver who often brakes too early and as a result tend to have their brakes applied for a long period of time then you may be causing unnecessary and quite substantial wear to the cars brake discs and brake pads and cause these parts to be in need of change more often than is typically needed.

Not Cleaning Your Car

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Nobody likes to have a dirty, disgusting and quite frankly horrid looking car as this can often damage a person reputation as people make preconceived assumptions of you as a person based on the presentation of your car. This lack of cleaning and car for their vehicle is a very serious habit and one that is most common amongst drivers. If your car goes without receiving a detailed and careful clean in a timely manner can result in serious corrosion which may result in damage to paint work and the overall body of the car.

Slamming Your Car Door

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Slamming your car door may not feel as though it is a serious issue and you may not even notice the strength in which you were closing your car door but this is a habit that many people have taken on without even noticing. This very common but quite damaging habit can cause the car door to incur heavy body damage and even dislodging the inner components of the door. A more serious impact of the slamming of car doors is the damage to the car windows and locks where often it leaves drivers unable to open their car or wind down their windows.

Reaching Around Your Car To Grab Things

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It is very common for drivers to try and undergo different tasks alongside driving and often this can be a driver trying to place different items in their glove box, another seat or even in the car door holders but this is an incredibly bad habit that most drivers have acquired over time. This may be because of the presentation of driving in different movies and films where actors make it look safe to perform different tasks or place and grab objects from different sections of their but this can cause a laps in concentration which may result in a serious accident.

Not Using Engine Coolant

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The refilling and constant checking of a vehicles engine coolant is often viewed by drivers as an extremely tedious job that many drivers tend to neglect when they are seeing to their car. It is common for drivers to leave this task until a car is taken to the garage but by leaving the engine coolant for a large amount of time is a very bad habit that drivers do not want to get into as this will cause a lot of damage to the cars engine causing it to overheat and breakdown. This is a very expensive issue to fix for a very simple solution of filling engine coolant regularly.

Becoming Distracted By A Phone Call

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The use of mobile phones and more specifically the action of taking phone calls while driving is quickly becoming one of the largest causes of accidents and subsequently resulting in a horrifying amount of fatalities. The taking of phone calls while driving is a very difficult habit to not indulge and engage with due to the ease in which you can take in phone call in modern cars due to the invention of bluetooth and inbuilt cellular systems with in cars and the ability to answer a phone call from your steering wheel. But is this risk worth the consequence?

Not Clearing Snow Properly

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Clearing your car of snow is one of the most hated jobs amongst drivers due to the brutally cold and uncomfortable nature of going out into the winter morning and moving the mounds of snow from your car but it is very crucial job that requires care and time to be done properly as if you get into the habit of not doing this can cause your car some serious harm. Due to the low temperature of snow if you use heat to remove the snow it can cause the windows and windshield to crack or shatter. The salt from the snow can also cause the car to erode.

Accelerating At A Yellow Light

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It can be hard to tell at times how much time you have until a light turns fro green to red and many even question how much time they have while the light is on amber and believe that they can make it through before the red light appears. This can be a very irresponsible habit to gain. By doing this it may mean that your are going at a higher speed than necessary to beat the changing lights placing a lot of strain on the engine and the gearbox but more importantly if the light does turn red then you may encounter oncoming traffic and cause a serious accident.

Staring At Things While Driving

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Driving brings us a great deal of freedom and is often a great way to put yourself out into the world and discover new sites, cities and cultures but it is important to remember that your concentration should remain on the round and not object, people or attractions on the streets as you drive past them. If you are in the habit of allowing your attention to be diverted by the varying surroundings you come across whilst driving then you may be placing your car and yourself in danger. This lack of concentration may cause your to crash and cause significant damage to your car.

Reading whilst driving

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This may sound silly, but think about it - you're stuck in a heavy traffic area with the jam moving at a snail's pace so you decide to keep your latest novel or newspaper on your lap as something to pass the time. It may sound logical, but it's another distraction. Accidents are most likely to happen with cars so close together, even if they're moving slowly - and especially if everyone is getting annoyed about the jam!

Slightly speeding

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You might think it doesn't count as speeding if you're going 5 over the limit instead of 50, but speeding is speeding no matter how you look at it. A lot of drivers don't realize that the speed limit is there because of braking distance and reaction time, which is why it's not about whether you can see any other cars in front of you on an empty street and think it's okay to go a little faster!

Driving after having a drink

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We all know there's a legal limit to what you can have before getting behind the wheel, but really, is it safe to drive after a drink at all? Most people react differently to alcohol, too, which means if you're more of a lightweight you could feel more affected by one glass than someone else might. You don't have to be officially drunk to have your reaction time slowed by alcohol.

Running a red light

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You might have panicked or decided to chance it because you got there just too late, or maybe it's late at night and quiet and you think it's okay because there are no other cars in sight. But running a red light is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents, and you're risking serious damage to your car - and yourself - if you're running a light because you think the coast is clear when it's not.

Running a stop sign

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Stop signs can be annoying, sure, especially when you can see there's no traffic, and the fact you have to come to a complete stop instead of a 'rolling stop'... we get it. But stop signs are there for a reason, and trying to skip one or not stop completely to chance it is a dangerous business and one of the worst driving habits. You can put yourself, other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

Changing lanes the wrong way

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Changing lanes can often cause panic or impulsiveness in some drivers where lanes are busy, because you think you only have one quick opportunity to do it and you don't want to miss it. But changing lanes too quickly and without giving enough indication to other drivers - as well as wildly zigzagging - is one of the worst habits you can do. Make sure to use turn signals and check blind spots!

Missing the 'wrong way' sign!

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If this happens, at best you don't run into any traffic while still committing one of the most dangerous driving fails you can do! At worst, you're going to meet another vehicle who's traveling the right way down a very narrow street and risk a collision - or risk a pedestrian who checked for which direction traffic should be coming. So make sure to keep a look out for those wrong way signs!


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When you're impatient, or even when you have all the time in the world, it's always annoying to have a ridiculously slow driver in front of you. Unfortunately that's one of the downsides of driving, but it also doesn't mean you should tailgate. You might think it prompts them to hurry up, but really it's just risking your vehicle going into the back of their car - which isn't what you want.

Driving when too tired

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The difficult thing about life in this day and age is we're taught to sort of suck it up when we're tired and get on with things, but this should never apply to driving. Unfortunately, if you have a job that requires driving, too, this can mean you're more likely to power through and try to continue. Even if you're not close to falling asleep at the wheel, being even a little bit drowsy reduces your reaction time.

Misjudging a curve in the road

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We'd like to think that any road you're driving on will warn you of a dangerous curve with a huge sign, so don't think you don't need to brake too much and misjudge - a curve can be very misleading in how sharp it actually is, and if you're taking it even a little bit too fast you can risk losing control of your car or swerving into the opposite lane. It's much better to take it far too slow than far too fast!

Braking suddenly

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We said before that braking suddenly can risk causing damage to your car, like on the brake discs and pads, but it can also cause a lot more damage than that. If you're braking suddenly in a very built up traffic area, you're running the risk of the person behind you driving into you because you didn't give any warning of slowing down, or any obvious sign of needing to brake.

Ignoring broken lights

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The most important light never to ignore is of course you're brake light - it's extremely dangerous if you're driving without this signal to other drivers working. Aside from that, any broken light is a danger, and you might think it's okay to drive for a bit longer with a broken headlight, but it's extremely dangerous - if they both go, you're not visible at night, and even with one out, it can confused other drivers at a distance.

Parking where you shouldn't be

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You might have never connected parking spaces with dangerous driving because your car won't be moving - but parking in a no parking zone or risky spot can be more dangerous than you think. No parking zones are there for a reason, so if your car is in the way, it could negatively impact the traffic flow in that area - and if there are more cars built up, more chance of an accident!

Giving in to road rage

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Some people are angry drivers, some people are not. Road rage can happen to anyone, else during busy rush hour, and while it's okay to feel a little miffed, you should never give in and let your anger affect your driving. But unfortunately this is what can happen. Even if you don't actively do anything - like tailgate or drive too fast - you can still be distracted by how angry you feel and not pay enough attention to the road.

Ignoring your seat belt

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You might have hopped into your car for a quick minute or so drive because you need to move it to park or you're just nipping out. There are no circumstances or no small amount of time where not wearing your seatbelt is okay. But in the US, it happens a surprising amount of times that people drive without properly wearing their seat belt. This can go for a full car, too, if you have three people in the back and a person in the middle without one on!

Thinking traffic signs are voluntary

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It's true that traffic signs don't know when other traffic is around or how busy it is, so it's easy to think 'sure, I should yield for other traffic when it's busy... but there isn't another car, so I'll go' - nope! Traffic signs should always be followed no matter if it's the dead of night, completely empty or busy. No matter what, make sure to follow traffic sign instructions or risk being a dangerous driver!

Ignoring your blind spots

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Your blind spots are difficult to see by their very nature, but that doesn't mean they should be ignored completely just because you can't see very well. You need to actively move your body and line of sight to try and see as much as you can through your blind spots before you make any driving change, such as turning, signalling or merging into a different lane.

Failing to merge properly

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Merging off the ramp onto a freeway needs to be done with the right care and speed, and the drivers both on and off the ramp know this. So if you're a driver disrupting that flow, it can be extremely dangerous on a high-speed freeway. If you're too slow on the ramp, you're risking the cars behind you and causing a jam. If you're too quick, you're risking merging too quickly when there might not be an opening.

Forgetting your turn signals

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Turn signals are so important, and there's really no reason to forget them - you know you're going to be turning because you're moving the steering wheel, and the signal is right there! Not using them is extremely dangerous - there's a reason the signals are built in your vehicle, after all - as other drivers will be confused why you're slowing down, or not expecting you to move in a certain direction.

Driving with earphones in

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Depending on what car you have, you might not have a very good speaker system or prefer to listen to your Spotify playlist on your phone with your Airpods. It might make sense while driving if you usually blast music anyway, but earphones or headphones are very dangerous. They block out sounds of everything else going on, so you aren't going to be able to hear your car if it starts making noises that need attention. You also aren't going to hear things like sirens of emergency services that need to get past!