Are Short Distances Bad For Your Car?

We all know how easy it is to pop to the shops in the car – we could walk, but then we’d have to walk back again, and what if you buy something heavy? You’d have to carry it all the way back again! Nipping to a meeting, hop in the car, it’ll only take 5 minutes, pick the kids up from school – it’ll be quicker than them dawdling all the way home…

But what are these short journeys doing to your car engine? Should they be avoided at all costs?

Cost is a good place to start – as driving short distances will mean that your car will perform less economically, so if you are fan of high MPG, you might be disappointed.

Obviously, it makes a difference depending on what car you’re driving, so let’s look in a bit more detail.

If you’re driving a petrol car, then short distance driving doesn’t give the engine time to warm up, the lubricating oil in your engine won’t be warm enough to protect the engine and you really will see a reduction in the MPG.

If you’re driving a diesel vehicle, then the issues around the lubrication in the engine remain the same, but you have the added factor of the particulate filter, which can get clogged up very quickly if they’re not given the opportunity to blast through on occasions. Getting your diesel particulate filter (DPF) replaced can be costly and isn’t always included in vehicle maintenance packages either – so it really could be costing you a fortune.

With modern cars, there is less issue with the starter motors and batteries on shorter journeys, as most cars now have the stop/start system in place, and even if they haven’t, they designed to deal with frequent starting and stopping. However, if you’re driving an older car (why are you? I can get you an amazing deal on a brand new one!) then this might be something else for you to consider.

If you’re driving an electric car, then these issues fall silent as you have no issue with lubricating oil not warming up, no particulate filters to worry about and you’re creating no extra pollution on your short journey either.

As we all know, my livelihood is made on getting people INTO cars, so I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was encouraging you all to walk or cycle! But I do want you to be aware that continuously doing short trips in the car might do more harm than good to your vehicle. Whether you make any changes to your driving habits on the basis of this is entirely up to you!

If you want to talk to me about some of the great deals I’ve currently got on electric vehicles, then let me know – we all know that they are often joked about – but there have been some amazing developments in technology over the past few years and now they are a real contender, particularly if your usual journeys are short and local.

I am always happy to give impartial advice on your circumstances. Feel free to get in touch.