I drive like my grandmother

My friend says that due to the way i drive, i am in fact hurting my car. I would disagree. He says since I only drive on city streets, never drive over 55 mph, do a lot of stop and go driving and never do any long distance driving that i am actually aging the engine. he says i need to get out on the freeway every so often, get it up to 65+ put on the cruise control and let the engine run for a good while. Is there any truth to this?

Nope. Not as long as the engine is typically run long enough to fully warm up and to recharge the battery from the starting process. That’ll vary with the car, typically it’s considered to be about 10 minutes, but of you’re not having batterys go weak you’re obviously driving it enough.

There once was truth to the idea, back in the days of carburators when engines ran rich and inefficiently and engines could load up with carbon deposits, but modern engines don’t have this problem. They don’t load up with carbon like the old engines did.

As to prematurely aging the engine, it’ll last you a fewer miles, but mainly because it’s going far fewer miles for every 100,000 turns of the crankshaft. The engine will actually last just as long, it’ll just do it in fewer car miles.

One thing I’d suggest is using the “severe maintenance” maintenance schedule. Since you’re not going as many miles for each 100,000 turns of the crank, you’ll want to be oding the maintenance at fewer traveled miles.

Maybe 10% true. 80% is teenagers trying to get their parents to let them drive the car fast. That was true in the 1950’s (I remember it) and today.

In real life city driving may not be as easy on a car as highway miles, but driving faster really is not going to materially benefit most cars.

We used to call it an “Italian tuneup”.

Do you make a lot of short trips where the engine never fully warms up? If so, this is tough on various components of the car.

Basically i drive to work and back M-F which is about a 35-40 minute drive (13+ miles), on the weekend I might drive a few miles here and there to the store and such. Since buying this van I average maybe 150-175 miles per week, all city street driving, thus no reason to ever get over 55 mph at any time.

A 13-mile drive should be plenty in warm weather. If you live in an area where it gets below freezing in the winter, an occasional highway run of once or twice a week would be good to get the oil nice and hot and cook off any moisture and volatiles.

What kind of car is it? I know ive seen people rev the engine unloaded and black smoke that i believe to be carbon comes out the tail pipe

The car has to run long enough to get fully warmed up and drive off any condensation in the crankcase. In the days of carburetors that also meant raw gas that found its way past the rings into the crankcase.

My wife basically drives in the city, goes 55 mph max, but because she drives enough in one day to thoroughly WARM UP the engine, the car still has all its compression and uses no oil. Obviously, stop and go driving will wear out an engine faster over 200,000 miles than smooth highwy driving.

Don’t pay much attention to battery wear; that’s a function of what the manufacturer thinks you deserve in OEM quality. My wife’s original Nissan battery lasted 7 years and 100,000 miles. My neighbor has a 2004 Ford Focus, and after only 4 oil changes (he does not drive a lot) he needs a new battery!!! Not covered by warranty.

In a sense your friends partally correct. Its not the way you drive, it’s the type of driving you do! If you check your owners manual stop and go driving list as severe driving conditions. Therefore you should the maintenance schedule. The same mountain bike is correct about the old carburators and rich fuel mixtures. The rich fuel mixture is only to improve cold drivability. The main concern is getting the engine and oil to proper operating temps. The piston and piston rings need to be expand to seal from blowby gases entering the crankcase which will reduce the life of the oil and the cylinder oil. As long you follow the maintenance schedule you should be OK!

It is a 2002 Kia Sedona with about 137,000 miles on it.

I thought I included “as long as it’s warmed up” in my post. Perhaps I should not have slept through that English course after all…

The only reason I mentioned the battery is that we do have posters that drive to the corner store one mile away all week long and lose their battery charge. There’re solutions for that, but not knowing how long the OP’s trips wree when I posted I wanted to be sure to address the issue.

What qualifies your friend as an automotive expert?

There was truth before computerized fuel injection. 55 is fast enough for clean up driving.

Where does your grandma stand on this issue:)

I agree with the posts above, just didn’t like the fact that grandma was not mentioned…

Good point; my mother-in-law used to just drive to the bank, grocery store, and library. That will run down the battery, and those drivers need battery minders.

The engine needs to be more than just warmed up; to avoid sludging as well as drive off the water it needs to run warmed up for some time. I live in an extreme area for winter driving, and 15 miles are needed to get the best effect of the heater, although the temperature gage will show “warmed up” after only 5 miles.

You are “aging” the vehicle a bit in city driving. However it does not make much difference considering you are not driving many miles. It will last just as long over time doing this type of driving vs driving 30k miles/year pure highway. Just make sure to change you oil every 3-4k miles as this is considered harder on oil.

I see your point. To my mind as long as the syetem is warmed up sufficiently for the T-stat to have opened and the temperature stabilized, it’s good to go. But I concede that having it at operating temp for a longer period might be better for it.

I also should recognize, having lived in North Dakota, that things are very diferent up where you are. Warming up an engine in 35F ambient temperatures is different from warming it up in -20 degee temperatures. I suspect that in NH, when the coolant reaches operating temp the oil temp is not far behind, but perhaps in Minn that’s not true. I seem to racall it taking more time in ND after the T-stat opened for the engine to loosen up.

You will be fine, as long as you keep up with the maintenance, and as long as you don’t drive like my brother.

Your Grandma has Got to love you …