Take The Long Way Home

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In our busy lives, we often leave work and want to head straight home so that we can relax and unwind.  Weekends are likely spent in town running errands & trying to accomplish things on our “To Do” list.  But did you know that short distance driving and stop-and-go traffic could be harming your vehicle AND that manufacturers consider these “Extreme Driving Conditions.” Whether your vehicle has a gas or diesel (TDI) engine, there are negatives to only driving short distances.  Here are a few:

  • Moisture builds up in oil since the engine is not hot enough to burn it off.   By-products of combustion, particularly water vapor, tend to accumulate in the engine and when it condenses, it could lead to rust and possibly sludge, which can be fatal to an engine = expensive.  Oil service intervals also need to be shortened if you only drive in town or short distances. 
  • Battery does not have the opportunity to fully charge.  Batteries function best when they are in a full state of charge.
  • Driveability is adversely affected in many ways.  Idle quality is not good and you may experience engine misfires, hesitation or surges.
  • Decreased fuel mileage.  Sitting in stop & go traffic or even idling at a drive-thru burns fuel in a less efficient manner than highway driving
  • When an engine and exhaust are not up to full operating temperature, there is a high soot content in the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).  Introduce a $6,000-7000 part to fix that situation if the accumulation is too high.  We’ll touch on DPFs in our next blog.

The old rule of thumb is that a good “Italian Tune Up” does wonders for your vehicle.  Get on the interstate and “blow it out” so that your vehicle’s engine, transmission and exhaust systems are up to full operating temperature and can get rid of moisture buildup and other impurities.   Just watch out for the blue lights while you are “cleaning” your car….