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Summary
  • Some bad habits that could be ruining your car include failing to check the fluids, ignoring warning lights, and not paying attention to the gauges.
  • Putting off routine maintenance, forgetting to inspect the engine compartment and undercarriage, and driving like a maniac are bad habits that can ruin your car.
  • Bad habits like not washing your car during the winter, postponing needed repairs, and using the wrong fluids can ruin your car.

It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits, such as watching too much Netflix and eating junk food all the time. When it comes to your car, you might also find yourself stuck in a cycle of less-than-desirable behaviors, such as skipping routine oil changes or ignoring strange noises from the undercarriage. 

Bad habits⁠—regardless of whether they concern your health or your car⁠—create unwanted results. We all know that constantly binge-watching Netflix and scarfing down cheeseburgers leads to an expanding waistline. Similarly, failing to take care of your car will eventually lead to a trip to the shop and a hefty repair bill. 

Your vehicle is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. And guess what? You could be ruining it with these bad behaviors. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the ways you could be unintentionally hurting your car. 

Failing to Check the Fluids

The fluids found throughout your car cool, lubricate, and perform other vital tasks. Because these fluids are so crucial, failing to check them can quickly lead to big-time problems. For instance, low fluid levels can cause engine seizure, transmission failure⁠—the list goes on and on. 

To avoid these types of catastrophes, be sure to check all of your car’s fluids regularly. 

Ignoring Warning Lights

There’s a reason dashboard warning lights are referred to by some as “idiot lights.” Ignoring these warnings isn’t the wisest move, and can quickly lead to a major breakdown.

So, if you’d prefer not to dip into your 401(k) to pay for car repairs, take heed of any warnings that pop up on the dash. Examples include the check engine light, over-temperature light, and low coolant light. 

car warning lights
Ignoring these warnings isn’t the wisest move, and can quickly lead to a major breakdown.

Not Paying Attention to the Gauges

Dashboard warning lights illuminate when there’s already a problem with your car. But you can avoid some issues (e.g., engine overheating) altogether by paying attention to your car’s gauges. 

You’ll also want to remember to monitor the fuel level, as low fuel can cause the fuel pump to overheat and fail. 

Putting Off Routine Maintenance

There are probably a million and one things you’d rather be doing than changing oil or flushing coolant. But as boring as routine maintenance might be, it’s vital if you want to keep your car on the road. 

Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule (listed in your owner’s manual or supplemental booklet) to determine what needs to be serviced and when. 

Forgetting to Inspect the Engine Compartment and Undercarriage

Be honest⁠—how often do you pop the hood to inspect your car’s engine compartment? If you’re like most drivers, the answer is next to never. And you probably check underneath the vehicle even less frequently. 

The problem is, when you fail to inspect the engine compartment and undercarriage, you could be missing issues. Hidden faults, such as fluid leaks and worn-out parts, can be a safety and reliability concern. 

Driving Like a Maniac

Slow down, Turbo⁠—arriving a few minutes earlier to work won’t win you any medals. What driving like a maniac does get you, however, is increased wear and tear on your car. You could even end up causing catastrophic damage to the engine or other expensive assemblies. 

A few examples of maneuvers you’ll want to avoid include: 

  • Jackrabbit starts and slamming on the brakes
  • Over-revving the engine
  • Moving the automatic transmission gear selector from Drive to Park (or Drive to Reverse) while the car is still rolling 

Although these are just a few examples, they point out the obvious: If you want your car to last, you need to slow down and drive with caution. 

dirty car driving in the snow
Washing your car in the winter plays a crucial role in removing rust-forming road salt. 

Not Washing Your Car (Including the Undercarriage) During the Winter

Breaking out the pressure washer (and your thermals) during the winter is not enjoyable, but it’s necessary to prevent your car from rusting away. 

If you live someplace where it’s sunny and 70 degrees all year long, cleaning your car is no more important in the winter than in the summer. But for the less fortunate souls who live in colder climates, washing your car in the winter plays a crucial role in removing rust-forming road salt. 

It’s not enough to just wash the body panels, either. You should always clean the undercarriage to remove salt from the steering, suspension, and frame (or sub-frame). 

Postponing Needed Repairs

Although ignoring car problems and spending money on something else (the latest gadget or a fancy dinner, perhaps) is tempting, doing so often ends up costing more in the long run. All too often, the issues your car is experiencing now will snowball into bigger problems, leaving you with a larger repair bill down the road. 

Using the Wrong Fluids

We all know that person who added washer fluid to their car’s coolant reservoir. 

It’s important to know the location of each of your car’s fluids to avoid a similar mishap. You also need to know what types of fluids your vehicle requires. These days, an array of oils, coolants, etc. are available. And if you put the wrong product in your car, you could easily damage vital components. 

Not Reading the Owner’s Manual and Supplemental Booklets

There’s a wealth of automotive information available online. Unfortunately, much of it is either misleading or doesn’t apply to your car. 

That’s where your owner’s manual comes in. Inside, you’ll find all kinds of important info, including fluid specifications and maintenance interval recommendations. What’s more, if you’ve misplaced your owner’s manual, in many instances, you can get a digital copy for free from the automaker’s website (e.g., Toyota.com).

Where to Get High-Quality Auto Parts and Accessories for Your Vehicle

Whether it’s a new dipstick or replacement gauges, you need high-quality parts and accessories to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. As such, it’s imperative you find a one-stop shop for any of your automobile needs. The good news is that CarParts.com has you covered with our high-quality aftermarket auto parts and accessories.

With our user-friendly website, you can find and order what you need on your mobile device or computer anytime. Use our vehicle selector to view the products that are compatible with your ride. Then, check out the results that match your preferred brand, price, and features using our search filters.

Order new parts now, and we’ll deliver your product straight to your doorstep in as fast as two business days. Don’t worry; you don’t have to break the bank to repair or enhance your ride. Our products come with a low-price guarantee to give you the best value for your money.

Check out our catalog and shop now!

About The Author
Written By Automotive Subject Matter Expert at CarParts.com

Mia Bevacqua has over 14 years of experience in the auto industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in Advanced Automotive Systems. Certifications include ASE Master Automobile Technician, Master Medium/Heavy Truck Technician, L1, L2, L3, and L4 Advanced Level Specialist. Mia loves fixer-upper oddballs, like her 1987 Cavalier Z-24 and 1998 Astro Van AWD.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : DIY , For the Car Owner , Maintenance
Bosch
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Niel

With todays cars being so complicated a little more knowledge might be a good thing

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