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Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ?  
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - saabjon
My daily commute is only a 3-4 mile journey. My current car (petrol) gets up to normal temperature by that time; will a diesel?

Thanks in advance for any advice on this.

Jon

Tags: buying petrol or diesel? used cars small cars

Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - GregSwain
I'd hope any efficient engine would be up to temperature by 3-4 miles. Not good for any engine though to just be run on short journeys though - whatever you buy be sure to give it a good italian tune-up once in a while.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - local yokel
I'd expect both to get to heat, but a diesel should eat fewer exhausts and have less engine wear caused by the stop-start, though the premium on a diesel won't really be worth it.

Best off with an older but cared for petrol, and accept it will get through some items. Regular oil changes won't harm it.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - nick
The smallest petrol engine you can live with would be best. Old, cheap but well cared for if you can find one.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - MichaelR
The smallest petrol engine you can live with would be best.


Surely the biggest petrol engine he can find would be better? At this mileage, fuel costs are irrelevant, so why not take advantage of the huge lack of demand for big engined cars and get something really nice?
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Roger Jones
From my experience, full operating temperature takes 7 and more miles to reach.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - nick
A small engine will heat up much quicker than a big lump.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - a900ss
My last few cars have all been around the 2.0 litre mark, all diesel. No way have ANY of them warmed up in 3-4 miles. Maybe the water has warmed but not all the oil and other fluids. I reckon on 5 mins for the water to be warmed up but 15 minutes before all the oils have reached operating temp.

If your journey is only 3-4 miles, I'd go for the smallest petrol engined car I could. It will be the quickest to warm up and in reality, who needs power/comfort for such a short journey?

Good Luck
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - daveyjp
A3 is showing operating temp after 4-5 miles at the moment, come winter it will be just at temp after 7 miles and in winter the journey takes longer due to heavier traffic.

Petrol Aygo is up to temp after less than 2 miles.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - DP
This is the big strength of the Rover K-series, and what it was designed for.

Stone cold engine to warm heater air - about 30 seconds. Stone cold engine to "normal" temperature reading <2 mins.

My mate's old S1 Elise would show 50°C on the Stack display within 30 seconds of a cold start, and at idle, the temperature would increase by a degree every 3 seconds or so up to its "normal" 90-95°C operating temperature. Total warmup time at idle was comfortably under 3 minutes, and the engine would have dropped off choke in under 2 minutes.

I'd be tempted by a 1.4 K-series engined car for short runs. The 1.4 is less prone to HGF than the 1.6/1.8, performance is very good and they're dirt cheap.

Cheers
DP
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04 Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi Dynamique
00 Mondeo 1.8TD LX
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Altea Ego
This is the big strength of the Rover K-series and what it was designed for.
Stone cold engine to warm heater air - about 30 seconds. Stone cold engine to
"normal" temperature reading TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - DP
Stone cold to overheating boiling and water int he road < 2 mins 1second



Yes, admittedly on some examples. That said, the aforementioned Elise had 100k on the clock when sold, and the engine had never been apart. Still went well too. This was a standard, non VVC 1.8 K that was serviced every 9k but otherwise ignored.

Cheers
DP
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04 Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi Dynamique
00 Mondeo 1.8TD LX
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - boxsterboy
Does it have to be a car?

Would a pedal bike/moped/motorbike do the job?
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Ravenger
I agree. Also many modern diesels have EGR valves, and these tend to fail more often if you're doing lots of short trips, and not giving the engine time to warm up.

Another thing to consider is that fuel economy will be very poor until the engine is warm, so a diesel loses its economy advantage if it's used for short trips.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - kithmo
A small engine will heat up much quicker than a big lump.

My old V6 2.5 Mk3 Mondeo used to warm up quicker than the Mk1 1.8 Mk1 Mondeo I had before it.
I deduced, larger engine = bigger bang in the cylinder (& more cylinders) = more heat generated.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - GregSwain
From my experience full operating temperature takes 7 and more miles to reach.


My Almera shows full operating temperature after 2-3 miles. As previously said - get something small, and be prepared to buy lots of back-boxes as your exhaust will be a rusty mess full of condensation. How about a 3y/o Suzuki Alto for a couple of grand?!
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Bill Payer
I'd hope any efficient engine would be up to temperature by 3-4 miles.


I might be 100% wrong, but my guess would have been that an in-efficient engine would warm up quicker, as it's wasting more energy by turning it into heat?
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - nortones2
Bicycle: will get the engine warmed up quite well.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Aprilia
Diesel combustion is generally more efficience than petrol - so for a given engine/cooling system heat capacity a Diesel will heat up more slowly than a petrol.

What you need is a petrol engine with the smallest heat capacity - that probably means something like the Aygo/107 which has a very small cooling system capacity, thin water jacket etc.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - cheddar
Not 100% wrong. You could also say that an engine with an inefficient cooling system would warm up quicker as its not able to disapate the heat.


However the objective (most important on a petrol re clean burn and ommisions) is very quick warm up and the accurate control of temp, not so easy to acheive both, though as DP says that was one of the ideas of the K Series. I also agree that 1.4 are less prone to HGF, a 200 with an 8v K Series is a good car for a 4 mile commute.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Aprilia
Its quite funny that people are suggesting a K-series engine. This engine has amongst the worst thermal control you could hope to find. The thermostat is located on the water pump intake and relies on the coolant by-pass to give it hot water to open. When it starts to open it then gets hit by a load of cold water from the rad, which causes it to close, meanwhile the head is getting hotter. When the thermostat does eventually open properly the head gets a 'thermal shock' from all that cold water hitting it. It is this hot/cold shock cycling which is partially responsible for all the head problems that the K-series suffers.
There is a modification kit which consists of bolting a replacement thermostat on the engine outlet. Its an alloy thermostat holder with bleed pipe that fits onto the hot outlet hose from the head with the bleed to the expansion bottle. The only snag is that the heater doesn't work until the thermostat opens!

The simple answer, of course, is not to touch a K-series with a long barge pole!
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - DP
Hi Aprilia,

I researched this quite intensively when my dad was talking about buying a petrol Freelander, trawling owners forums and specialist sites, and my ultimate conclusion was that there is no conclusion when determining what causes K-series HGF.

Head gaskets have still failed on cars equipped with the thermostat kit you talk about (fitted at the same time as a previous head gasket swap), and other engines have run completely untouched for 6 figure mileages with no problems at all.

The plastic head locating dowels used on some engines have also been implicated, but again the failure pattern is not limited to engines equipped with these.

The small coolant capacity has been implicated, particularly with owners neglecting underbonnet checks (surely not?!) and allowing minor coolant leaks to go unchecked.

The casting quality and finish on these engines were apparently hugely variable, and there is strong evidence that this plays a part in determining the overall reliability of a given example.

And finally, Land Rover, when they finally acknowledged the issue even existed, seemed to think it was the head gasket material and design, and have developed a modified head gasket (and fitting procedure) which they now issue as standard to dealers for replacements. This seems to have good feedback from owners.

The answer of course is who knows, and your last sentence is probably the only realistic answer for anyone wanting to play it totally safe. There are K-series engines that run to big mileages with total reliability though, but I agree you are taking a chance by buying one.

Cheers
DP
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04 Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi Dynamique
00 Mondeo 1.8TD LX
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Derfel
Having owned a Rover 416i with a K-Series engine, I could not agree more with Aprilia's conclusion. The car was an absolute nightmare from start to finish suffering HGF, water pump failure and finally cracked cylinder head in just 20k miles. The AA guy who recovered the car from its first HGF said he had seen 1.4 K-Series engines with water trickling out of the head.

My brother had a 216i and also had serious problems including a gearbox failure. I was in my local garage a couple of months ago and they were working on a 216i, predictably enough the cylinder head was removed!

Whichever way you look at it a K-Series is a very risky purchase.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - daveyjp
"What you need is a petrol engine with the smallest heat capacity - that probably means something like the Aygo/107 which has a very small cooling system capacity, thin water jacket etc. "

Generally agreed, but ironically the worst car we had for getting heat through was the smart - very small engine which was worked hard, but because it's in the back it suffers like the original Beetle in that it's a long way from the engine to the heater matrix, so plenty of opportunity for heat to be lost.

Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - nick
If you don't have to carry much clutter a bicycle would be best. An old tatty one so it doesn't get stolen. I read some research back in the '80's which concluded that in the SE of England, if you did a 30 minute bike ride each way morning and evening 5 days a week, you would get rained on 11 times a year. The trick is predicting which days are in the 11!

Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - kithmo
If you don't have to carry much clutter a bicycle would be best. >>


Is that a petrol or diesel then ?
;0)
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - jase1
With that sort of short journey, make sure you have a bus as a backup, and buy the cheapest knacker you can find. Engine, size etc don't really matter, you're going to coke the poor blighter up anyway so don't bother with a newer car.

A reasonably reliable car with a year's ticket can easily be picked up for around £4-500.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - madf
"Another thing to consider is that fuel economy will be very poor until the engine is warm, so a diesel loses its economy advantage if it's used for short trips. "

I'm sorry but based on practical experience over 14 years of short journys (<2 miles) in a 106 diesel the above is - at least in this case- wrong.(average 55mpg).

Diesels are strong on fuel economy in traffic, when idling and within a few 100 yards. But in winter, A CR diesel will take 5 miles + to warm up properly. A less efficient non CR diesel takes 2-4 miles.

IF you can buy a cheap 106/Fiesta then a petrol one is as cheap as a diesel: cheaper to buy but higher fuel costs (warmer heater!) ... and exhasuts rotting in 2 years... but if its 7-10 years old, who cares?

For that kind of journey a CHEAP <£2k car is best.. a reliable make.. which excludes Rovers Renaults and anything with built in major faults... and something which takes abuse (so no Fiats!)... Friend ran a Peugeot 305 diesel for 15 years like that till rust..
madf
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - peanut
I had a 1.9 Clio diesel. It took ages to warm up: partly due to the higher efficiency (i.e less heat waste) of a diesel anyway, partly due to a diesel engine being heavier and over-engineered (more engine to heat up), and partly due to the power in a diesel comes at low revs, so on a short journey there would be little scope for a 'blast' to warm things up. I always noticed lower mpg to the tank when it was only short journeys (52), still way better than any petrol, but not as good as on a run. My work was 10 miles away, and it took 5-6 miles to warm up on a cold day. On a frosty day, I either had to sit in the car for 15 mins with the engine running while it warmed up, or wear a thick coat, and scrape the ice off the inside of the screen. Not fun.

I'd go for a small petrol engine: if it's not a banger, give it a good run once a week. And a bike for the summer!

Peanut.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - MichaelR
FWIW, the water temperature of my 530i is at correct operating temp after approximately a mile and a half (Albeit a slow mile and half). I have heat from the vents in less than 30 seconds.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Car
Perhaps the poor quality of more recent rovers was one of the things that finished them off?

Unfortunatley I have to agree that Rover's do have their problems. My current car has suffered headgasket problem, needed two water pumps the last one only lasted 50,000 miles! and now the gearbox bearings are on the way out, so you can imagine I will not be buying a Rover next time which is a shame as my two previous Rovers clocked up a total 140,000 miles in my care with just wear & tear items being replaced.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - Ed V
Cycling: 33 days perhaps this year, and none for the next three = 11 days per year!
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - L'escargot
I'd hope any efficient engine would be up to temperature by 3-4 miles.


The more fuel-efficient an engine is the longer it takes to get up to temperature. The result of using fuel is mainly split between (a) useful power, (b) heat going out of the exhaust pipe, and (c) heat being lost to the outside air via the coolant/radiator. From the point of view of fuel efficiency the less heat going into the coolant the better.
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L\'escargot.
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - GregSwain
The more fuel-efficient an engine is the longer it takes to get up to temperature.


Cars run most efficiently at full operating temperature (both in terms of fuel and emissions), so surely an efficient engine with decent thermal management will warm up quickly in order to reach peak efficiency sooner rather than later. Isn't the purpose of the thermostat to hold back the cooling system until the engine has reached a decent temperature?
Best for short journeys - petrol or diesel ? - injection doc
Quite simply the answer is no!Take apprilla's advice & leave a rover alone! A cheap very small engined car & an italian tune up once a fortnight will sufice

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