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From fast starts to sudden braking, driving habits like these can be hard on your used vehicle. Here are a few of the worst ones and some helpful tips on how to break them.

Riding the brakes

You may think you’re being a cautious and safe driver by staying in close contact with your brake pedal, but keeping your foot on it is actually hazardous to your braking system. Every time you press on your brake, you’re causing heat buildup. And if done excessively, this can lead to premature wear of the pads and rotors. If you’re riding your brakes because you’re going down a hill, try downshifting instead to keep a safe speed.

Carrying heavy loads often

If you put a lot of stuff in your car, it’s going to weigh more. And the more your car weighs, the harder the brakes, engine, and transmission have to work. But the less your car weighs, the better it will drive and you might even see a bump in your gas mileage. So, lighten the load in your car as often as you can. 

Ignoring those warning lights on your dash

We get it—you see a check engine indicator light up and you assume it’s no big deal and you ignore it. Maybe for a few days, maybe longer. But you really should take your used car into a mechanic. Taking care of problems sooner rather than later can mean the difference between a simple repair and an expensive fix.

Riding on empty or close to it 

Many of today’s vehicles have an electric fuel pump that uses gasoline as a coolant. Meaning that driving with a near-empty tank can cause the fuel pump to overheat and create some serious issues. Your fuel pump also has a fuel filter, which can quickly get backed up with excessive dirt and sediment if you drive with a low tank. To avoid these problems, get in the habit of driving with the gas tank at least a quarter (¼) of the way full.

Fast starts

Quickly peeling away from a stoplight can not only wreak havoc on your gas mileage but can also be hard on your car overall.  Commonly called “jackrabbit starts,” these fast starts put a lot of stress on your car’s engine, transmission, steering, and suspension. Instead, increase your speed gradually and go easy on that accelerator.

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