Dirt or Highway?

I recently took a job that is about a 45 minute drive from my house. I can go on the highway (longer route, but faster drive) or I can take a shortcut which is mostly dirt road. Either way, I’m in the car about 45 minutes. I’m wondering which is less wear and tear on the car? 45 minutes of highway speeds, or 45 minutes in third gear (the car is standard) on dirt? (It’s not all dirt, but I’d say easily more than 50% of the drive is dirt). Thanks for the advice!!

Highway, hands down, is easier on the car.

Dirt is rougher, RPM will be higher and more variable, dust will accumulate in all the car’s filters.

Highway all the way.


Agree with @Mustangman, highway is way easier on the car. If you use the dirt road regularly, I would consider following the severe service schedule in your manual

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Ok! thanks so much

Highway travel is easy on a car and the finish will last a lot longer as well!

Many of the dirt roads around here are in far smoother condition than the paved ones so I’d say you just have to compare the two.

Around me, dirt roads mean rocks that kick up into the undercarriage, possibly causing damage. I use back roads commuting occasionally when the highways are snarled, but they are all paved.

Driving on dirt is harder on the car, unless you are going pretty slow.

My point is that not all dirt roads are worse than the paved equivalents.

Last year the county highway (8 miles) was shut mosty down for a month while the county redid it. Fo some odd reason, they did it right this time and the road was wonderful to drive on. Not for long…

The county (which authorizes wind farm traffic…) decided to approve more wind farm rock haulers a month after redoing the highway., Four months of 7 days a week rock hauling has made the new road worse than the Dakar Rally.
I guess the thought of allowing the rock hauling to proceed and finish BEFORE repairing the road never crossed their minds.

I seriously doubt if the vehicle cares about road surface unless it really poor shape and someone drives to fast. Not knowing the OP’s highway traffic or what the secondary roads are like I might use the highway to get to work and in decent weather ( no snow or rain ) I might come home the other way if the scenery and drive was relaxing enough.