Third gear

I accidentally drove my Toyota Matrix in third gear at highway speed for at least 50 miles. Did I do damage?

You Lived To Tell About It, Right ? I Doubt Very Seriously That Any Damage Was Done. You Must Have Really Been Enjoying That Radio / CD. What Were You Listening To ?


No, you just used more gas.

Nope, no damage. These engines can handle high rpms as long as you’re below the red line, which then computer will keep you from exceeding. No problem.

You probably cleaned out any carbon deposits in your engine, but if you did any damage you’d know it already. I assume this is a five-speed standard transmission, not a six-speed, because you would not have been able to drive a six-speed at highway miles (65 mph +) while in third gear. I’m not sure but I think the car would just not go that fast in the third of six gears, even if was red-lined to the max. And I AM sure the engine would blow up before two miles went by.

You did cause a lot of unnecessary wear to the engine. Fifty miles is a long way to go revving 5,000 plus RPMs. You should definitely change the oil, and you might want upgrade to a synthetic oil from here out.

I am guessing its a automatic and the OP accidentally put it in third gear instead of Drive, but either way probably no damage

Might be. Either way the ratios work about the same. If there were damage it would be in the way of a blown rod bearing or whatever happened to fail first. I assume that all of the opinions so far were given on the basis that there are no symptoms.
This engine should have just failed. Fifty miles in third gear (either manual or automatic), doing at least 65 mph? I should buy this car.
But it didn’t fail. That is all any of us can say. But there was no damage? Are you kidding me? I softballed it by calling it wear (and that is what it is given that nothing actually blew up or broke), but it IS damage. There can’t help but be damage, even if that means that the engine runs fine but aged tens of thousands of miles in one day.

AT or manual? What was the tachometer reading (if you know)? I can’t imagine that it was screaming too much if you didn’t notice it, and most little 4 cylinder engines rev high anyway. I’d change the oil and move forward. Most people fly by me on the interstate in little 4 bangers and I’m doing 60-65, they gotta be doing 75-80. You think that the higher revving at 80 is killing those cars too? I agree that you may have caused a little extra wear, but 60 mph cool air passing over the engine even at 4500 is well below the redline. Our Civic redlines at 6500 and we could drive it all day long at 2500/65mph or 3500/75mph, although I wouldn’t. In fact, the head mechanic at my Mazda dealership actually yelled at me for shifting my RX-8 before 4500, says that higher revving is good for a car. Rocketman

I don’t agree with the opinion that you have definitely done damage.
Possibly, but not definitely.

Just as an example of how this type of goof does not necessarily spell doom for an engine, many years ago I drove my '71 Charger from Cincinnatti to Dayton, Ohio on the interstate, in second gear. (As to what was going on in the car that diverted my attention, all I will say is…no comment!)

I did not discover my mistake until exiting from the highway and, of course, I was a bit worried about the fate of the engine. Well, the next morning I drove back to Cincy, and a few days after that I drove back home to NJ. Upon my return home, I changed the oil.

The bottom line is that I had that car for another two years and it never showed any signs of damage from the misadventure. No oil burning, no overheating, no strange noises, no mechanical problems. Yes, I know that a Mopar 318 V-8 is different from the 4-banger in a Matrix, but that V-8 was not designed for high revs, and yet it survived that inadvertant high speed expedition in second gear.

And it is said I am drunk posting???

You aren’t the first person to make this mistake, and you won’t be the last. I had a Honda Civic Hybrid out of our institution’s fleet. On the way back from where the convention was held (about 125 miles from home) we were about 20 miles into the trip. I was driving and my research partner was commenting on the fact that the car seemed a lot noisier than when she drove it. She even chided me that the car like her better than the car liked me. I discovered that I was running in 3rd gear. When I did shift into “Drive” the rpm dropped from about 3000 to 2200. I didn’t even notice a difference in gas mileage. Years ago, a neighbor had a 1952 Nash Ambassador with the Borg Warner overdrive. While on a highway trip, he accidentally drove about 50 miles in overdrive second (a gear somewhat lower than 3rd gear. He realized his mistake and shifted into overdrive high. I don’t think it hurt that Nash. He drove it well over 125,000 miles without engine work (very good for those times).

You did no damage whatsoever. Drive on, worry free.

There’s no damage. If your car couldn’t handle that, then it wouldn’t be able to drive on the Autobahn in top gear. The last time I drove over there, I didn’t notice the highway being littered with broken-down Toyotas.