Bad driving habits can wreck your wallet

Little driving tics and quirks you've had for years could be hurting your car and costing you some serious cash.

Here's a closer look at some common driving no-nos and the damage they can do to your car and your wallet.

Driving on empty
Do you pride yourself on getting every last drop of gas out of your gas tank before filling up? Cut it out.

Sediment from gasoline settles at the bottom of every gas tank. When you let your gas level run low, you force your car to use the dirtiest gas in its tank for fuel.

The lower your car's gas level sinks, the more the dirt gets stirred up from the bottom of the tank. Drive on a near-empty tank and you risk this dirt getting into your car's fuel line and even into the engine. There's a good chance your car's fuel filter won't be able to catch all of it, especially if you drive with a barely filled gas tank on a regular basis.

"You're going to pull the heaviest sediment into the fuel line," says Karl Brauer, editor-in-chief at "If it gets all the way to the engine, it could scar or damage internal parts of the engine."

If this happens, you're putting extra strain on the engine. And you'll need to flush the entire fuel system if it clogs up with dirt.

"You're talking a minimum of a couple of hundred dollars if it really jams up the system," Brauer says.

At the very least, you'll need to replace your car's fuel filter more often. That will run you about $100. And if sediment deposits or sludge form on your fuel injectors, you won't like the way your car drives.

"The car will run funny," says Tony Molla, a spokesman for the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence. "It will feel like the car needs a tune-up."

The best advice? Never let your gas level dip too low.

"It's a good idea to keep your tank half full," Molla says.

Revving the engine
This is never a good idea.

"There's just no reason for it," says David Bennett, manager of automotive programs at AAA. "You're putting additional stress on the engine itself."

Revving is especially bad for your engine if you do it right after you start the car when the engine is cold and all the oil is still down in the oil pan.

"All those metal parts in an engine that move around aren't properly lubricated with oil," Brauer says.

Repeated revving will damage your engine and it will cost you thousands of dollars to buy a new one.

So be good to your engine. Be as gentle as you can on your engine in the first few minutes of driving. Avoid aggressive driving moves.

And never, ever rev your engine.

Quick starts and stops
You might like how it feels to floor your accelerator at a traffic light, but all you're doing is wasting gas and putting more strain on your car.

All those abrupt stops aren't great for your car either, and you'll burn through your brakes in no time.

Keep your fuel bills and brake bills in check by becoming a smooth driver.

"The smoother you drive, the longer everything is going to last," Molla says. "The more smoothly you start and stop, the more life you'll get out of your car."

Anticipate stops whenever you can. Letting your car coast to a stop is a good way to improve your gas mileage.



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