Driving a car with no oil in the engine, letting dirty oil stay in the engine and using ethanol gasoline are actions that can destroy a car's engine. General poor maintenance can destroy an engine over time.
Oil is the lubricant that minimizes the friction between the fast-moving parts inside the engine. If there is no oil inside the engine, the moving parts grind against each other. This causes the engine to seize up. The ground pieces may have to be replaced, or the whole engine may be ruined.
Dirty oil also damages the car's engine. Sludge develops and can accumulate in critical areas. As a result of the oil not performing its job as a lubricant and the build-up itself, oil sludge causes excess friction and heat in the engine. The result is a damaged engine.
Adding ethanol gasoline is another way to damage the engine, according to Bell Performance. Ethanol absorbs water and dissolves polymers. Over time, these actions can corrode rods, fuel lines, valves, injection systems, the crank case and cylinders and heads.
Checking a car's fluid level is a basic aspect of maintenance because lack of the proper fluids can lead to engine damage. Clutch fluid prevents the transmission gears from mashing. Steering fluid lubricates the parts inside the steering column.