very short drives: how bad are they ? - catalyst
We have to frequently drive 2 miles to the nearest park to walk our dog, it varies but on average 5 times a week. Is this likely to cause damage to the 2 Litre petrol engine (it's a new Mazda) and how badly ? I read that it might seeing as a car needs over 3 miles to complete a full cycle.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Civic8
You are right.But have come across those that drive less mileage and the engine still is ok after several years.But do suffer choked plugs and hard starting.it is not a good idea to run the engine like that.when you say you have read over 3 miles to keep engine clean you should really run it for around 5 mile`s I may be corrected here but it should be driven properly for that time.or you can expect problems.Hope it helps
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Roger Jones
Having checked carefully on several occasions, I know that the oil in my cars doesn't reach its proper operating temperature until at least seven miles out. There is little worse for a car than repeated short trips -- nothing warms up properly, condensation doesn't get cleared, etc., etc. Why not walk the dog the two miles to the park -- the dog will thank you, and your own health will benefit.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - ajit
1: If the car does nothing else but this trip = big trouble

2: If you have been running the car during the day and do this trip = problems are incremental

Idelly, combine a few trips and make the park the last one.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Cliff Pope
I agree with ajit - short journeys alone = death.
But as he says, if the car is already warm or warmish from previous use, then any effect will be minimal.
A mixed spread of journey lengths is fine. IMO it takes a lot more than 5 miles to cancell out the cold running effect. That may have got the car up to temperature, although I doubt whether the oil is really sizzling hot at less than 20 miles, but it needs something like an hour at full temperature to clear out the condensation products introduced by the short trips.

If the car really does do only these short trips, then the best you can do is change the oil at least twice a year, with a flushing additive.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Bob the builder
Well, forgive me, but I'll disagree ! I would concede that loads and loads of (only) short journeys cannot be great news for an engine. But .... occasionally ? "death" ??
How many people get the car out of the garage, then stop it to go in and have breakfast. Nearly every neighbour / relative I know who isn't belting out to work do this sort of thing. Same goes for washing the car ... I haven't noticed their cars "dying".
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Claude
The single most important thing is shorten your oil change intervals and do it at time intervals NOT mileage intervals. As the previous post says: change the oil at least twice a year.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - ajit
and of course, the god old italian tune up !!!!!!
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Cliff Pope
Actually I didn't say "occasionally" = death. I said that if this short journey is the only kind the car does, then it won't have a very long life.
And yes, starting the car just to get it out for washing is a proven way of shortening the life of the catalyst. There was a thread on that subject a good while back. Modern cars often have a safety feature that imobilises them if started for only a short time, to avoid flooding. Lots of threads on that one too.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - ajit
Bit like smoking, it does not kill but it shortens life
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Malcolm_L
Provided the oil is changed regularly and the cars gets an occasional longer run to clear the spark plugs and burn off water from the oil - not too much of an issue.

In all probability the first casualty will be the exhaust which will rot through.

very short drives: how bad are they ? - THe Growler
Would this apply to an environment where the ambient night temp never drops below about 23 in the night and averages 34 in the day?
very short drives: how bad are they ? - No Do$h
Would this apply to an environment where the ambient night temp
never drops below about 23 in the night and averages 34
in the day?


I would have thought so. The time taken to get up to temperature may be shorter, but the operating temp is still a fair bit higher than your ambient.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Civic8
That I am aware of a catalyst will only be damaged if the car fails to start after several turns off the starter.As long as the engine starts straight away.the fuel is burnt so no petrol actually gets to the Cat.I may be corrected here but that is as far as I know the only way a Cat will be messed up
very short drives: how bad are they ? - timp
Why not walk the dog to the park and back, then you won't have to worry?
very short drives: how bad are they ? - catalyst
Thanks all. It's our main car and we use it all the time not just for that purpose, so looks like it's not too bad to do short runs a few times a week provided we do regular oil changes
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Ian Chandler
If i.t is any reassurance, my mother, who is 87, had a Renault 5 that she sold about 2 years ago. In the 13 or so years she had it, it had completed about 7,000 miles - most on journeys of about a mile or two. The car was a bit cantankerous, but that was mostly because of the way Renault designed the thing and there wasn't actually anything wrong with it when she sold it. It's still in use - so very short journeys aren't necessarily a death warrant. Mind you, it was a pre-catalyst car - but she has since bought a new Polo, uses it in the same way, and apart from electrical problems apparently caused by poor quality switches used by VW that seems to be surviving quite well too ......
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Ian R. Cook
On the same subject , where I work there are three guy's who own flash cars, a Impreza turbo, a brand new Focus RS, and a brand new Freelander all of whom live less than 2 miles away. Try telling them that they are knackering their motors and they give you a blank look! They think I'm causing more damage to my 102k 306 in my 10 mile journey. Still I doubt that they will suffer the effects of their short journey teatment, as they will change the car after a couple of years.Its the people further down the food chain like us Back Room chaps who will suffer the consequences.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - 007
An elderly lady neighbour of mine has had her Ford (Fiesta?) from new...1983/4 'A' reg.

The car has now reached 39000 miles (!!) has been used for short drives on all occasions, has probably never warmed up and wouldn't know a Motorway if it saw one.

I have never known it not to start first time, it has never let her down and the bodywork shows no sign of age even if hers does.

I can't understand it.
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Peter D
I would recommend, assuming you are able bodied, that you walk the 2 miles to and from the park. Your poor enginge must Have contaminated oil, high acidity, the ppor Cat has never been up to temperature and the wear is surely quite high. Regards Peter
very short drives: how bad are they ? - sean
catalyst,

Sorry to tell you this, but YES. You are killing your car.

I work for someone who builds this type of thing and we go through life cycles from start to finish.

Your use (utilisation) equates to buying a car that has done 163,000 miles of motorway use (just worse than)

Truly
very short drives: how bad are they ? - madf
My wife specialises in short journeys :we live 1.25 miiles from town centre and she drives 4,000 miles or less per year. Average journey length by her: 1.25 miles When I use it, 15 miles.

She has done this since we moved here in 1982.

Experience:
Mini - 1100,1275 - engine full of carbon, exhaust systems rusted through, decokes needed. (usual other Mini problems)

Peugeot 106 diesel - 10 years old. No problems. Uses a little oil now otherwise exhaust lasted 8 years/original clutch, new disks. oil and filter changes every year. garaged. Bodily near new..


Cars are meant to be abused and serviced. there are some makes that are useless with no abuse , some are temperamental and some are highly tuned. As long as you have none of those then regular low mileages coupled with good servicing and occasional long run should be ok.

Own a Fiat or a Vauxhall Omega or a Alfa? Forget it...

Own a Fiesta or Peugoet 106? Ok




madf
very short drives: how bad are they ? - Malcolm_L
Sean,
you've been a little quiet recently - still working for VW?

To put your statement into perspective this will only adversely affect engine and exhaust components - I doubt if gearbox, steering and wheel bearings etc would bear comparison with a 163k mile motor?

very short drives: how bad are they ? - sean
Hmmm.

Something about 163,000 miles mainly in top gear at 70mph and the selectors not being used.

The acceleration is zero at constant speed on a motorway, but I take your point.

Yes, I'm still with VW Germany. I'm home for a week to get away from cars!!

Busman's holiday?
 

Value my car