Worried about wear and tear from driving semi regularly on a 6% grade


#1

I am getting ready to make a huge change, I am moving. I have done all kinds of research as far as finding a place that is affordable, closer to my work (I currently drive 30 mins), and will also cut down the hour I drive weekly to my daughter’s allergist (now will be 1/2 hour - I’ll take it) not to mention finding a place that does not smell like cigarette smoke… after months of research and contemplation, I finally settled on a nice place, a little over budget but manageable, 15 mins from work, 20 - 30 mins from 2 places of worship, 35 mins from allergist. I was pretty happy about all this UNTIL I discovered that three times a week, going to my preferred house of worship and once to the allergist, I will be driving up a 6% grade for several miles. Being the worrier that I am, I immediately felt like all my planning was going to fall apart because of the damage this is going to do to my engine… Am I nuts? Any tips? (automatic trans, 2011 Chevy Cruze) Thanks! :slight_smile:


#2

What about your brakes? Assuming you have to go back home the second half will be easy on the engine (coasting) and hard on brakes!

Don’t sweat it. Take it easy going up and it won’t be a big deal to your engine longevity. Same going down. Use combination of engine and brakes to limit speed and drive on.


#3

What is the climate like where you’re moving to?


#4

The engine is not a problem. The extra stress will be on the transmission and differential. Just make sure to have the transmission serviced every 30 to 50K miles. I’d not worry.


#5

You’re worrying unnecessarily. People drive up and down hills like this all the time. There will be a tiny bit of extra wear on your car, but that’s partially or completely offset by your shorter drives.

On the way up the hill, you might want to choose your own gear if the transmission is hunting (switching between gears too frequently). On the way down the hill, make sure to use engine braking as much as possible.

I hope you have a passing lane to use when going up the hill. Getting stuck behind a truck wouldn’t be fun on a repeated basis!


#6

Cars in San Francisco last just as long as anywhere else while going up steep grades. They just have more frequent brake jobs there.


#7

6% really isn’t that steep of a hill.

Maybe I’m jaded, living near Pittsburgh, but 6% sounds like “moderate hill” to me. Nothing to write home about; heck I even think interstates are occasionally graded to 6%. I probably couldn’t avoid hitting at least one of these daily, without careful thought re: route planning.

OP, Google “Dirty Dozen Bicycle Race.” The 13 steepest hills around Pittsburgh…nothing under 15% makes the short list. Point being, I’m sure your car will be just fine dealing with this glorified overpass masquerading as a hill.


#8

An 6% grade is pretty significant grade. Interstates aren’t suppose to have anything over a 7% grade.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Fundamentals_of_Transportation/Grade

Not too sure if that’s true. I know that if there’s a 6% grade for more then a few miles truckers are asked to use a lower gear.


#9

@MikeInNH: Exactly. 6% is “acceptable” for use in Interstates, where all hills are moderate, by definition. Surface streets would be expected to go far steeper, as they don’t support forty tons at a mile a minute.

I know, when considering gear ratios for my bicycle, I use 14% as a guide…anything steeper, I’ll walk.

I guess when I consider a “significant” hill, I’m thinking 20+%, switchbacks, and a sign saying “hill closes at first snowfall.”


#10

I spend some time in Colorado…All kinds of 6% grades here…Modern cars go up and down them without even noticing they are there…Locking out the overdrive while on these grades (up or down) takes the stress off the driveline…Not a problem…


#11

Maybe there’s a compromise available. I used to live on a fairly steep hill when I was living in Colorado. Pulling out of the driveway, I could decide either to go up or down the hill, on the street in front of my place. Just a city street so if I wanted I could go downhill if I wanted for a few blocks, then make a couple turns and go back uphill on another street. Or sometimes I could get where I was going either way just as easily. So when if I had time, I’d always go downhill when first starting out, even if it meant looping back towards where I was actually going. Gives the engine and transmission a chance to lube- and warm-up before going uphill. Maybe doing this had some benefit. Still driving the same 70’s Ford 4x4 truck, all original powertrain, even after all these years.


#12

You’re gonna be fine.
We have a 9% grade near our home. FWIW our hybrid (which has a CVT transmission and a computer that supposedly keeps the best engine speed for the workload on the car) revs up in the 4500 rpm range while we are going uphill, so I’d suggest keeping the car in a lower gear both going up and down the hill. People who drive in rushhour traffic will probably stress their cars more than you will.
I agree with George that you should maybe let the drive gear warm up a bit before going up a steep hill.


#13

Do not worry about it. You are not going to have significant repairs because of a 6% grade. It is a car, I think it is ok. Your going to go down the same hill you go up on, live on in peace and think whatever it costs you going up the hill, you can save going down the hill. Peace be with you and God bless, from an agnostic.


#14

I agree. Engines are tough. Just use the proper or lower gear so you don’t bog it down and service the trans like you should anyway. Enjoy. While a 6% grade is a reasonable climb, its not something to worry about. Now if its in the winter time and there is snow and ice, wait until its sanded. In Duluth, people go up and down those grades all the time. Only problem is in the winter time, if you can’t stop at the bottom, you’ll hit Lake Superior.


#15

To answer your question; yes you are nuts ! ;=) And, you worry too much.
If no one has noticed, the world is not flat and you are going up hills and down, all the time. Your car is designed for it. Even a Chevy Cruse is. I live on the side of a mountain and find driving up hill SLOWLY is a great way to warm up a car…no need to go down hill first nor even worry about hills. As a matter of fact, gear changing is what causes wear so just keep speed constant, the same as you would on level ground. The only compensation you should expect to make is accelerate more slowly going up hills and use engine braking for long hills going down.

So, unless your manual says to avoid hills…not to worry. Good tread on your tires is your only additional worry ( expense) for frequent hilly driving.


#16

Thanks! Oblivion, I live in the desert, and yes it gets very hot. I think that will worry me a little still during the summer, but for the most part I feel much better :slight_smile: