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Driving a car continuously on road trips

Me and two friends (who are siblings) have to drive a 2007 Chrysler Town and Country 2,000 miles. My companions believe it is damaging to a car to drive more than a few hundred miles with out stopping to let it cool down and, “heal”, I guess. They normally stretch the 25hr drive into a 4-5 day affair! That would be an absolute disaster so I need some authority to help persuade them that we can make it take 2 days. (20hrs split 3 ways on day one, home by lunch the next day)

I am a engineering major (senior year) and the only one with mechanical skill, but my word isn’t good enough. I need some authority. Can you help me find documentation to persuade them that a car can drive a very long time so long as its fluids and tires are closely monitored.

Here is what sounds like BS to them. If you can help with any of these that would be great.
-The car is best at normal highway speeds and loads. This is the type of thing it was designed to do.
-Cars don’t need to cool down if the gauge says its OK, in fact heating and cooling cycles do a lot more damage.

  • Gas ups (about 400 miles) are excellent intervals to check fluids and tires.
  • Letting a car set for a while does nothing to help it, it’s not like it can “heal”.
  • Just because their Dad, and Billy-Bob from down the street say you need to stop doesn’t mean it’s true. Such human intuition applies to animals not machines.
    And very important!
  • you’re supposed to downshift coming down a mountain and let the transmission slow you rather than ride the brake. In fact using the brakes a whole lot for such long periods is dangerous!

They mistrust online forums, so I’m looking for web articles, video articles, manuals, manufacturer’s tips and tricks etc. Maybe a book!

It’s impossible to convince those who refuse to be convinced without challanging them to articulate their case. Perhaps if you challenge them to explain to you exactly what damage would (they think) be done, and be prepared to explain your beleifs, they’ll listen.

In short, don;t just say what’s correct, explain it. And challange them to do the same.

Worst case, realize that stopping every few hundred miles is as harmless as cruising all the way on the highway. The amount of life that the thermal cycling and the additional starts will take out of the engine is perhaps 5 minutes.

The brakes are a seperate issue. You may want to Google articles on “what happens when brakes overheat” or “the advantages of using the engine going down hills” or things like that. I’ve seen and read countless technical articles on the subject. I’m sure there’ll be some on the internet. Perhaps articles on boiling brake fluid would pop us too. might have something as well.

Haven’t your friends ever seen Smokey and the Bandit? That should be enough “documentation”…

And if this Volvo can go almost 3 million miles, your Chrylser should be able to go 2k without melting into a smoking heap :wink:

Why go through all that trouble? Ask them to support their views using web articles, video articles, manuals, manufacturer’s tips and tricks etc. Maybe a book. This sounds more like a homework assignment.

I’ll bet that when they go to the internet to find information to support their views they’ll discover for themselves that you’re right.

I do have a class A CDL ,and the way i was shown how how come down a steep grade is one gear lower then you used to climb the grade yes i would put the van’s tranny in the next lowest range and if the i needed to apply the brakes just enough to slow downto re gain control but no more then 5 seconds then let them cool for about 5 seconds and repeat if neccery i like tpo stop to streach my legs every 2 to 3 hours. truck drivers our limeted to 11 hours driving in a 14 hour period after a 10 hour break know your limetes and your van should have no problems making the trip just make sure all the fluids our where they need to be and make sure the spair tire has alll the air it needs . just watch out for fatge

One more vote for “You are 100% correct, have them provide any evidence to the contrary.” You have asked a group of car folk (including mechanics, engineers, and designers) with several hundred years of experience between them, and we ALL agree.

And here’s your documentation: EVERY OWNERS MANUAL EVER MADE. Not one of them will mention any of your friends’ concerns, guaranteed.

The only limitation on driving time applies to the driver, not the car. Better to stop every hour or two for a break to keep from losing concentration.

To say your friends are ‘wrong’ is being charitable. ‘Out to lunch’ is closer…

The most significant interval of wear for most vehicle engines is from a cold start until operating temperature is reached.

No problem driving it straight through. Explain to them that the engine has a thermostat that controls engine temperature, the oil is going to lubricate the engine as long as the level is kept full whether it’s run 1 hour or 100 hours straight. I’ve driven up to 25 hours straight without stopping other than for gas/food. I was certainly tired when I got to my destination, but the car could have gone another 25 hours without a problem. Several years ago my brother and a friend drove about 1800 miles straight through from Elkton, KY to Las Vegas, NV, They took turns driving while the other one slept in the back seat.

Jojk…you are right and your companions are wrong. As for documentation just refer them to the comments listed here. I’m sure there are a lot of comments still pending.

Cars don’t need to stop and rest - people do. Just stop as needed for the health of the driver and passengers. Actually highway trips and driving are very easy on cars.

Exceptions are when you are towing something very heavy, or running a speeds far in excess of the posted speed limits. These things can put a strain on the transmission and without a special higher capacity transmission cooler (or a factory equipped tow package) you could overheat a transmission.

If a car is running properly and the guages indicate normal temps, then you can run it all day and all night with no need for stopping. Since this is such a universally understood topic, it might be hard to find “documentation”.

You never told us – whose car is it? If it is yours, you get to control the drive/rest cycles. But if it is theirs, your car smarts may go nowhere. You are outnumbered and outdumbed. Good luck, my friend.

Look at long distance trucks they almost never shut off, neither do NYC taxi (they got hot seated)… These vehicles can get multiple 100’s of thousand miles put on them every year… Honestly a car can give a Rats rear if they do 1,000 miles in a day, or on a week, or a month… Just drive !!!

This is not “Christine” Cars don’t heal themselves (if they did this forum would not exist)

Stopping every 2 hours is a good call for the driver and passengers to stretch legs and empty bladders.

Easy compromise. Also this removes the 10 mins you spend coming off the highway and finding a safe / useful pit stop.

Unless your car has an inherent problem, it can run all day. What is hard is working it under load, esp on long climbs or if hauling.

your trip computer’s instantaneous fuel consumption reading is a good proxy for engine load.

I have to agree with everyone else here, your car is capable of outlasting you when it comes to distances. I just completed a trip if over 5000 miles in 7 driving days, by myself. I combined food, gas and bathroom breaks in each stop, but it was the bathroom that was my primary motivation to stop. Or in other words, the car had more range than my bladder. BTW, this car had 242k miles on it at the start of the trip.

A recommendation for you is not to check the tires too closely. Don’t put a gauge on them every time you stop. Learn to recognize a tire with low pressure and just visually check them. If you want to use a gauge, only use it at the start of each day, but I would only use it at the start of the trip. Check the oil frequently though even if you don’t normally burn oil.

Your friends are comp;ete idiots and there won’t be any documentT tp prove something that no one credible has dobuted, Some coast to coast trucking companies operate their tractor trailers around the clockm xhabging drivers every 500-500 miles unyil it is time for an oil change and inspection and then right back on the road.
A car is completely up to temperature in much less than an hour and after that nothing changes unless you lose fluid or break a part, but parts don’t break because of lack of rest.

Rather than downshifting on a Chrysler 300 I used cruise control to maintain the speed limit (well ok plus 9 I confess) and it worked very well!
Riding the brakes going downhill can lead to brake fade.

Maybe they just don’t want to drive 2000 miles in a day-and-a-half? Their reasoning is rubbish, of course, but they might be making up stuff because they don’t like your proposed schedule.

You are exactly right, and if I were you I might reconsider being a part of that trip.

I was watching an old Andy Griffith show on Sunday. The one where Barney buys a 54 Ford. The lady that drove it in to him said she stopped every 20 minutes to let the car rest a while. The car was a wreck. Cars don’t need a rest period like people do and are at there best being continuously run on the road all warmed up and going.