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Old 12-09-2009, 06:44 PM   #1
Miter Wrench
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Default Short trips bad for your car?

I've always heard short trips are hard on the car. Fuel mileage, water in exhaust, batteries not getting charged up enough etc. So what exactly is a short trip? Should this be based on time more than distance? I drive 4 miles to work in about 10-12 minutes. This is monday - friday. It's back streets so speeds never get over 35 mph. My temp gauge goes up to normal etc. Should be enough of a drive to keep things running OK? I do get out on weekends and drive a bit more and do some highway etc. I've been driving this route with various cars for years and I haven't had any problems as far as premature wear (that I know of ) - but there was a friendly argument at work and it was said that this isn't enough driving. My son drives a mile and a half to school and his car is fine too (so far).
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

your car only has 4k left to live
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

That is a short trip imo. Good excuse to ride your bike! I live 6.5 miles from work and try to ride in good weather. Perhaps the short trips aren't as bad for your car as they are for the environment since the emissions control stuff doesn't fully kick in until the engine is good and warm. You will also tend to get poor gas mileage with short trips.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

Miter Wrench, the argument goes that short trips, esp. in cold weather, aren't good for an engine b/c the engine doesn't have enough time to get adequately warmed off. Longer trips at highway speeds when the engine has fully warmed up are better and will burn off any excess carbon. You'll also get better gas mileage when the engine is operating at normal operating temps.

There's validity to that argument, but if you have a short commute there's not much you can do...short of moving farther away or taking a longer route to work. With today's engines, I wouldn't be too concerned about it. The flip side is, you're not using as much gas.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

Nice - first 2 replies: a joker and a hugger!!

I'd say that's NOT a short drive. Engines are stressed in the first 30 seconds. Once the lubrication is to the top, the temp is up (esp. after a few miles) and the fuel is burned off the cylinder walls, all is forgiven. Worst thing is moving cars around your yard, not driving 10 minutes to work.

I say you are fine and will never have problems due to these short - yet adequate - trips.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

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Originally Posted by Lookin4'67Galaxieconv View Post
With today's engines, I wouldn't be too concerned about it.
Exactly. New vehicles are designed specifically to heat up faster to reduce emissions combine that with lean fuel injection and your worries should be over.

Different story years ago when engines were carbureted with chokes.

Never hurts to have a look see under the oil filler cap. If you see white mike shake under the cap you might want to consider a long week end trip. Most likely your cap is going to be clean.

If you're worried simply change your oil more often.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

Condensation is the big problem. In the engine it will get into your oil, so change it more frequently. It will also settle into the exhaust and rust sooner. You need to be at operating temps for quite a while to fully dry the exhaust.

Older lady I knew drove about 2 miles to work every day. Put exhaust on about every 2 years.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

I work with a woman who lives three blocks from the office, and she drives to and from work every day. THAT's a short trip.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

Biggest problem is condensation collecting in the crankcase like Elroy said. I can remember many times removing rocker covers on those type of cars and having to scrap sludge out. Make sure you drive it at highway speed once a week to heat the oil up and boil off the moisture. Or call Algore I think you'd be a perfect candidate for a plugin electric.
Thanx Trevor
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

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Nice - first 2 replies: a joker and a hugger!!

I'd say that's NOT a short drive. Engines are stressed in the first 30 seconds. Once the lubrication is to the top, the temp is up (esp. after a few miles) and the fuel is burned off the cylinder walls, all is forgiven. Worst thing is moving cars around your yard, not driving 10 minutes to work.

I say you are fine and will never have problems due to these short - yet adequate - trips.
LOL...

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Old 12-09-2009, 08:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

Try to get your engine up to operating temperature at least once a week. You need to burn off the moisture in the oil.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

With all the plastic components used, valve covers, intake manifolds, and the like getting the engine hot enough long enough to boil away the condensation is a real challange. The Jeep V8 with the oil fill cap on the right side cylinder head is a classic example. A plastic neck attached to the front of the head, early versions had no air flow, and often would be filled with that sludgy oil water mix. A hose was added in the following years that was supposed to reduce the build up.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

yea water in the exhaust and condensation in the oil is the worst things nowadays, plus not really getting up to speed makes it worse. Do you have a better route you could take to get the RPM's up, also , when driving under 45 for any length of time,take the trans out of overdrive.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

4 miles is a very short trip in any of my cars with their large oil capacities and oil coolers. The oil temps in either of my BMWs wouldn't have even broken 40C at that trip length. I have to go at least 7 to 10 miles when the temps are 40 F or below just to get the oil up to operating temp of 80 or 90 C.

If I were in your shoes I'd still drive that commute but every other week, I'd take it out for a 30 mile highway flogging and allow the motor to really open itself up and breath.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:37 AM   #15
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

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I work with a woman who lives three blocks from the office, and she drives to and from work every day. THAT's a short trip.
That is stupid. Unless she is handicap or the weather is just total crap, I'd say she is just plain lazy. I'd be embarrased to tell people I drove 3 blocks to get to work.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:40 AM   #16
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

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Condensation is the big problem. In the engine it will get into your oil, so change it more frequently. It will also settle into the exhaust and rust sooner. You need to be at operating temps for quite a while to fully dry the exhaust.

Older lady I knew drove about 2 miles to work every day. Put exhaust on about every 2 years.
Had the same problem when I was 3 miles from work. New exhaust every 2 years but this was really the only problem. Probably made up for it in saved gas and time.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:43 AM   #17
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

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Nice - first 2 replies: a joker and a hugger!!
Why, because I ride to work now and then when the weather is good? When its cold out I could give a shit less about the environment.

On the highway I get 30-32mpg. Driving my commute all week gets me about 20-23mpg.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:46 AM   #18
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

One of my friends would drive to work and you could almost see his shop from his house
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:10 AM   #19
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

My kid just asked me to drive her to school today...

Her school is on the other side of the street....
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:21 AM   #20
Miter Wrench
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Default Re: Short trips bad for your car?

Thanks. I guess in all honesty, I do drive a bit more in the evenings then I mentioned. My other job being Dad's taxi service and all. Again, I do make up for it on weekends with a bit more driving. My "short" trip is odometer friendly anyway.
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