Is driving long distance bad for the car?

DenOutside

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Chicago, IL to Acton, MA soon!
Car(s)
soon, maybe a Civic or Integra
I'm always paranoid whenever I have to go on a long road trip (700 miles +) and usually around 85MPH.

I'm afraid it shortens the lifespan of the car dramatically and is causing damage to it.

But I did read that cars take more wear and tear in city traffic compared to highway but a long road trip of 700 miles + is pretty extreme

So in general, does driving really long cause damage to a car?

Thanks
 

thevictor390

Teen Wankeler
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
11,838
Location
Massachusetts
Car(s)
'10 RX-8 R3, '89 Toyota Blizzard SX5
Normally, highway miles are easier on the car than city, but 85 mph is pretty fast. I guess it depends on the car... my Sebring at 85 is at a constant 3500-4000 rpm so it's tougher on that than it would be on a big V8.
 

Elvis313

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
976
Location
Germany
Car(s)
2013 Volvo V60 D6
I'll bet you any money that 2000 miles on a proper highway do less damage to you car than, lets say a week of driving on smaller roads in east germany
 

the Interceptor

I LUV MY PRIUS!!!
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
6,041
Location
ze Vaterland
Car(s)
VW Diesel of Death
No, a long trip isn't bad for your vehicle. Given your car is well prepared (check fluids, tire pressures and stuff before you go), a 700 mile trip will be much better for your car than 700 miles worth of short trips and stop and go traffic.
 

airmenair

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
2,556
Location
Arlington, Texas, USA
I think it depends on the car and the frequency of the long trips. Generally city traffic is harder on the drivetrain and other moving components because they are constantly in a stop/go situation. This sort of loading shortens the life of the components.
 

DenOutside

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Chicago, IL to Acton, MA soon!
Car(s)
soon, maybe a Civic or Integra
Cool. Thanks for all the replies.

Seems like the stop/go is what's causing the most damage.

1)
Is a constant 85MPH for hours non-stop harmful?

2)
And I occasionally do brake on the interstate (from 85MPH to 60MPH and back to 85)
Would this be the same as stop/go or not because I don't fully stop?

Thanks (sorry for all this noob-ness. I just want to sure)
 

villej

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
660
Location
Finland
Car(s)
'03 and '06 Renault Megane
Continuous short trips wear your car more, because you need to start the engine more often and run on cold engine more, and also drivetrain parts get more abuse, like airmenair said, because you stop and get going again more often.

I would say driving 1000 miles in one trip is much more gentle to your car than 1000 miles of many short trips. On short trips everything in the car including the interior wears much more.
 
Last edited:

the Interceptor

I LUV MY PRIUS!!!
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
6,041
Location
ze Vaterland
Car(s)
VW Diesel of Death
Cool. Thanks for all the replies.

Seems like the stop/go is what's causing the most damage.

1)
Is a constant 85MPH for hours non-stop harmful?
Might be not too good if you stick to 85 mph straight for hours. Then again, there have been 24h max speed tests of cars which didn't take any damage. I personally wouldn't set my cruise control to 85 mph and leave it there for half a day, but that may just be personal paranoia. As long as you accelerate by foot and drive 85-ish, you're fine.

2)
And I occasionally do brake on the interstate (from 85MPH to 60MPH and back to 85)
Would this be the same as stop/go or not because I don't fully stop?
That's no problem, since you don't really use the brakes heavily changing from 85 to 60 mph.
 

idk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
1,836
Location
SW Germany
Car(s)
Hyundai i30N Performance
It won't do any harm... Driving from here to southern France... it's about 20km 100mph to the border, then cruise control to 85 for the next 1000km because they have a speedlimit... But well u have to stop occasionally to pay the toll... but the rest is 85mph..
 

D-Fence

Mrs. IceBone
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,637
Location
'schland
Car(s)
John Pooper Works
I just read somewhere it is not good to keep the same rpm over long time, dunno if true. I try to keep it in a "rev field" of 500rpm when doing Autobahn runs (in my car, that is 4000-4500rpm :))
 

thevictor390

Teen Wankeler
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
11,838
Location
Massachusetts
Car(s)
'10 RX-8 R3, '89 Toyota Blizzard SX5
What??? I don't think I have ever driven any slower... apart from driving in towns...villages
...

when the highest speed limit you've ever seen is 65, it's pretty fast. But you do have a point.
 

idk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
1,836
Location
SW Germany
Car(s)
Hyundai i30N Performance
I don't know what car he is driving. But 80-85 mph is pretty much the standard speed of all European countries that have a speed limit.

So somehow the cars will be tested for that specific range. I even think that the overall setup for the suspension etc. has a special focus on that speed range. Assuming he's driving a car that is also exported to other countries... (or comes from others)

I just read somewhere it is not good to keep the same rpm over long time, dunno if true. I try to keep it in a "rev field" of 500rpm when doing Autobahn runs (in my car, that is 4000-4500rpm :))
I don't think that this is correct. At least in general. There might be some specific revs combined with a specific gear that produces vibration in the car. Especially when the revs are too low... well.. thats bad for the components.

But look at the motors that have the highest livespan... like ship motors. They always run at the same relevation for decades...
 
Last edited:

Ford Prefect

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2006
Messages
1,872
Location
Bavaria
Car(s)
MINI, E30, GT86
What?s with the paranoia? It?s a car, it was designed for you to drive around in it.

Long distance trips are definitely better than short trips. Partly because there is less braking and accelerating involved, and because after setting off, all the parts and fluids are at operating temperature the whole time. And they don?t usually go below that even if you take a lot of bathroom/cigarette/lunch breaks.

I?ve often driven long distances where I?ve had the throttle floored for hours, only slowing down every once in a while to accomodate the odd left-lane crawler or temporary speed limit. And while this is certainly harder on the car than keeping to a more economic and relaxed speed, it?s still better than starting it up for the short little trips to the supermarket.
 

DenOutside

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Chicago, IL to Acton, MA soon!
Car(s)
soon, maybe a Civic or Integra
What?s with the paranoia? It?s a car, it was designed for you to drive around in it.
Well I might need to buy a brand new car ('10 Honda Civic or '10 Scion Tc) for a long 1000 mile road trip to my new job. I don't want to buy a car and "abuse" it right out of the box.

Although, I did hear somewhere that new cars NEED to be pushed to the limit when you first get them. Like you have to step really hard on the pedal...
Can someone shed more light on this?

Long distance trips are definitely better than short trips. Partly because there is less braking and accelerating involved, and because after setting off, all the parts and fluids are at operating temperature the whole time. And they don?t usually go below that even if you take a lot of bathroom/cigarette/lunch breaks.
I come from the computer world and in computers, I guess it's the opposite. You want to keep it as cool as possible and taking breaks to let it cool off is a good thing. Seems like the opposite of cars.
 

idk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
1,836
Location
SW Germany
Car(s)
Hyundai i30N Performance
U also don't want to keep computers as cold as possible, because condensation of water will kill your components :p The "correct" temperature is the key.... to hot is bad.. for computers and the car, to cold is also bad for both...
 

thevictor390

Teen Wankeler
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
11,838
Location
Massachusetts
Car(s)
'10 RX-8 R3, '89 Toyota Blizzard SX5
? For a petrol engine do not allow the RPMs to go over 2,500 for the first 1,000 km. After that, you can increase the limit to 3,000 RPMs until 1,500 km and then gradually increase it to the maximum by 2,500 km.
I'm above 2500 RPM at 60 MPH, or if I ever feel like accelerating at all.
 

DarkReaper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2005
Messages
1,278
Location
Germany
Car(s)
BMW635CSI'86.BMW850CI'96 MotoGuzzi California EV
Driving long-distance is the best thing you can do to your car. Your engine oil is at optimum temperature, you don't vary your load or rpm all the time lowering stresses on the engine, you don't use the clutch much...
As long as your highway speed isn't close to the limiter then I don't see a reason why it could possibly be worse than the same distance driven in city/highway mix.

I often drive the distance Munich-D?sseldorf (600km) at 200+kmh, the car isn't going to break because of it.
 
Last edited:
Top