So what is a 'harmful' low mileage  
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Miller
We all know that excessive low mileage on a car can be a bad thing - short trips so engine never warms up etc - but what is the minimum mileage per year you can get away with without causing future problems?

I currently do 6000 a year which although low I guess is just enough to keep my engine happy (comprised of roughly 20 miles a day over six days a week)Any ideas?

Tags: technical issues DPF diesels

So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - TimW
That sounds OK to me - in fact I had to work out the exacts same thing on the last car I bought - 24,000 miles in 5 years. I think it was just on the wrong side of low for my liking (10 - 12 miles a day if I remember rightly), but I bought it anyway and just gave it a damn good service.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - martint123
Difficult to say really. It is journey time rather than annual mileage I guess. 5 miles a day for 365 days a year would be a lot worse than 35 miles each sunday. At a guess, any journey that takes 2 or 3 times longer or more than it takes the temp gauge to get to 'normal' would be fine.

Martin
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Happy Blue!
It's not low mileage per se that's harmful, just the way of driving.

Car A could be driven 20 miles each day in two trips of 10 miles. i.e. a reasonable commute, but allowing for another 40 miles per week social driving, that makes only 7,280pa

Alternatively, Car B could do lots of little trips such as

>Children to school and collecting - two trips of three miles each
>Shopping - say five miles
>General tootling around etc.

My wife is in the Car B category, but does about 8,000 miles pa. Which car would you rather have?


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Espada III - well if you have a family and need a Lamborghini, what else do you drive?
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - local yokel
HJ would tell you that the individual trips need to be long enough to get the engine etc. fully warmed. larger engine = longer time taken, small/med engine = about 10 miles to get up to temp and warmed through - helps if it's at 40 mph or more, ISTR.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - andyconda
I only do about four or five thousand miles a year. But the car is not used for commuting - just longer journeys at the weekend including occasional trips from London down to the Westcountry.

I change the oil at six-month intervals irrespective of mileage, so I see no reason why my car should suffer any ill effects normally associated with low mileage cars. Like Espada says, it's all down to the type of motoring. Short journeys on a cold engine are the most damaging to an engine.

And in spite of all the well-documented disadvantages of low mileage cars, I still expect the low mileage on my car to guarantee me an easier sale and/or better price when I come to sell it.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Altea Ego
Assuming that anything less than 6 miles as a trip from cold is harmful then and assuming work (or shops) is 6 miles away

6 miles from cold there, 6 miles form cold back = 12 miles day x 5 = 60 miles week.

60 x 52 = 3120 miles

add another 1000 miles for longer trips and holidays a year

4120

There: 4120 miles is the magic number - anything under that per year beware.

So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - patently
6 miles from cold there, 6 miles form cold back = 12 miles
day x 5 = 60 miles week.


RF - you're assuming that the owner works full-time.

What if they work (say) 3 days per week? Then their commute is 10 miles to give a mileage of 4120....

More useful would be to know the visible signs that we could look for.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Altea Ego
It was slightly TIC as the original question is really unanswerable
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - P3t3r
The main issue is the engine oil. Firstly if the oil's not fully warm, then it won't protect properly, and also if it's still not fully warmed up at the end of the journey you'll get condensation building up. The condensation then mixes with the oil, and it won't lubricate as well, that's why frequent oil changes are good for short trips.

It usually takes around 7 miles for a car to warm up. In a cold day it's longer, and in the summer it's quicker. The type of car/engine and how it's driven will effect it too. Idling makes the oil warm up VERY slowly, so it's not a good idea to warm it up that way. It's generally best to drive the car normally, too much load, and too many revs is bad for an engine.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Aprilia
To be honest I have seen very few cars that have suffered through low mileage.

Last week I took a local 'old boy's' D-reg Fiesta for an MoT. He only does one journey each week of five miles! The car was fine apart from partially-siezed front brake calipers which feed-off with a bit of prying from a screwdriver. The engine was sweet and emissions were fine.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Miller
That is reasurring to hear Aprilia.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Happy Blue!
In truth we recently sold a Honda Civic Shuttle 1991 with 25,000 miles on it. We bought it with 4,000 when four years old and had been sitting in a garage for one year, after which my mother drove it and therefore did 21,000 miles in nine years.

Sold it to a friend and stil running fine. Only ever had main dealer service and no repairs of any kind - Mind you , with manual choke, carburretor and electronic ignition there isn't much to go wrong.
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Espada III - well if you have a family and need a Lamborghini, what else do you drive?
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - mare
There's a 1991 H reg one owner Primera on Autotrader at the moment with 18,000 miles. That's just over 100 per month!
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - borasport20
This may be an urban myth, but I'm sure I once heard Ford (or some other manufacturer's) most punishing test was the 'district nurse' test - drive a couple of miles to base, then a couple of miles to first visit, then perhaps a mile, perhap a few hundred yards to next visit, repeat for 7 hours with the engine never warming up properly


So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Cardew
I think 'harmful low mileage' is an urban myth perpetuated by the fixation many have about engine wear and tear.

It might have had validity on earlier generations of cars; but not on modern engines, to any significant effect.

What is the likely damage caused to an engine by not being properly warmed up on each trip? Some retained moisture in the engine? Provided the oil is changed annually, so what?

You might only get 120k miles instead of 200k from the engine. If it is a low mileage car, the tin worm or other causes will send it to an automotive grave before the engine gives up.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Cliff Pope
I've argued before in an earlier thread that it is not just the annual mileage, or even the number of short trips, but the relationship between the short trips and the long ones that really counts.
All journeys are short ones, up to the point that they turn into longer ones, so if most engine wear occurs in the first 10 miles the number of miles would be irrelevant, only the number of journeys.
My contention was that the higher wear associated with short journeys in fact arises because of the corroding effect of condensation in the first few miles. This will go on building up with successive short journeys, but will be evaporated by a good run at full working temperature. In other words, a few long journeys will offset the potential for wear done by the short ones.
Viewed in this light frequent oil changes would be especially beneficial to cars doing lots of short journeys.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - wantone
i bought a mk5 golf gttdi last september.
still hasnt got 1500 mile on it.
if i dont need it i dont use it i use what god intended for us.
even walk my lad to school thats about 2 mile each way,does me and the lad good.im not cruel thow if its peeing down the car comes out, but gotta say i try to avoid short jorneys
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - ihpj
It all has to do with servicing, how frequently has it been serviced and has it been timeously done? Freqnet poil/filter changes have to be the key as the car shouldn't see usage through wear and tear of the trim.

My dear old Mother's MKIII Golf has done a mere (though wholly original) 38K from new ;) I ensure she has a oil/filter change atleast once ever six months, or more usually three - five times a year since she really does do very little mileage.

Look in the service book and ancillary reciepts. Those'll give you an idea as to how well it's been looked after as well as listening and looking at the engine itself.

Good Luck :)

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Im not plain stupid, just a special kind of stoopid.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Tomo
Well, I mainly take the utility car for messages (and I have never walked anywhere for half a century or so and if I couldn't take the car I wouldn't go) and I do not think it would be economic to do another dozen miles just to warm the engine up. I admit to taking it for a thrash now and then, but that's to try to free the blighter up! No sign of problems.

If it's not a hobby it's a convenience, so do not make it an inconvenience by worrying.

So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Cardew
It all has to do with servicing, how frequently has it
been serviced and has it been timeously done? Freqnet poil/filter
changes have to be the key as the car shouldn't see
usage through wear and tear of the trim.
My dear old Mother's MKIII Golf has done a mere (though
wholly original) 38K from new ;) I ensure she has
a oil/filter change atleast once ever six months, or more usually
three - five times a year since she really does do
very little mileage.
Look in the service book and ancillary reciepts. Those'll give
you an idea as to how well it's been looked after
as well as listening and looking at the engine itself.


Apart from a lot of trouble and expense what has your 3-5 times a year oil/filter change on your mother's low mileage car achieved? The best condition 38k Golf engine in UK? If you did it monthly it might be in even better condition.

If they are in the service book with ancillary reciepts(sic) it must have cost a real lot of money and been difficult to record.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - ihpj
Apart from a lot of trouble and expense what has your
3-5 times a year oil/filter change on your mother's low mileage
car achieved?

>>
She doesn't garage the car at all and leaves it parked up on the driveway where it suffers from the extremes in weather throughout the year. Thus the engine gets a lot of cold starts and very short journeys (running on choke most of the time) and rarely hots up - OK with the current warmer weather its slightly better, but inreality the car runs cold from journey to journey.
If they are in the service book with ancillary reciepts(sic) it
must have cost a real lot of money and been difficult
to record.

>>
Why would it be expensive? It costs about £25 for a change each time (original filter) and the reciept just goes in the car wallet. What has it ahceived? Well since the car doesn't suffer from any mayo or other engine related issues, the car runs quite well.

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Im not plain stupid, just a special kind of stoopid.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Altea Ego
"oil/filter change atleast once ever six months, or more usually three - five times a year"


Three to 5 times a year? That is bordering on obsessive behaviour syndrome and is totaly over the top and throwing money down the drain. You might as well snatch fivers from your dear old mothers handbag and stuff them down the drain.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - cheddar
Boughts wife's Clio at 3 years old with only 4k miles, main dealer and mint condition so clearly genuine, no ill effects so far another 3 years on with 30k miles on the clock.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - Marlot
Thanks to the NU tracker on my wife's car, the report which they produce each quarter showed she had done 100 miles in the last quarter, plus a one-off 40-mile trip which I made.

We've just sold the car. After eight years of this sort of driving (lots of very short journeys but one longer run every 3-4 months), less than 1000 miles each year, the car still passed the emissions test with flying colours.

The parts which were showing wear were the ones you would expect - steering, brakes [cylinders starting to seize] and clutch. It got through a couple of batteries, one exhaust and one set of suspension bushes [despite a short trip to work she had 5 speed bumps]

Servicing was once a year. I also put a huge bag of silica gel crystals in the car which kept it dry inside [drying them out in the oven about once a fortnight].

And before everyone says she should have been walking to work, I completely agree; but to be fair, as a schoolteacher she was normally carrying two or three large bags of marking.
So what is a 'harmful' low mileage - madf
SWMBO has averaged under 4,000 miles a year for the past 23years so we have some experience of low mileage. Her average is currently 2,800 with an average journmey length of 1.2 miles:-(

If it's a petrol car, low mileage rots exhausts due to condensation and internal rust. And old style carburettor cars used to carbon up the inlet valves as always running on a rich mixture.
Running a 106 diesel, the rear box is original (12 years old) and the engine uses no oil (43k miles ) but it's had new disks. Bodily it is very good. Engine runs as new (2 cambelts ). Oil and filter change once a year : every year. No special oil: BP Viscostatic turbo diesle mineral works well.

So brakes wear and if serviced regularly then apart from rusting disks, not much else goes wrong.

But it is garaged and I do inspect and waxoyl it where required every 3 years.

I see no need for more frequent oil changes than every 12 months (despite HJ's advice:-).

A very unsympathetic driver hard on clutches and gearboxes might have very different experiences. And if left outside, disks will corrode and cables stick more than we experience.



madf


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