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Old 07-08-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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How often should a car be driven, even if it's 2 miles, to make sure that it's not breaking down on its on due to long time sitting?

A) Every month

B) Every two weeks

C) Every week

D) Twice a week
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:51 AM
 
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First of all, the absolute worst thing that you can do for your engine is to drive the car for only 2 miles and then shut off the engine.

Very short drives have extremely negative consequences, including:

>A build-up of water vapor (a natural byproduct of combustion) in the oil.
>A muffler and exhaust system that will rot-out prematurely.
>A battery that will go dead periodically, and will not last very long.

If you are not going to drive a car very often, you should do the following:

Once every two weeks, take it out for a highway drive of 45 minutes to 1 hour.
This will allow the oil to heat up sufficiently to burn off water vapor that would otherwise dilute the oil and lead to the build-up of damaging sludge in the engine. It will also evaporate the water vapor that was left in the muffler, and it will charge the battery sufficiently so that it can sit for another two weeks.


Just be sure to do the following, regarding maintenance:

>Change the oil on the basis of elapsed time, not on the basis of odometer mileage.
The mfr's maintenance schedule in your glovebox will say something along the lines of...Change the oil every 5,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. In your case, you would change the oil every 6 months.
>While the oil changes are the most important, other type of maintenance also need to be done on the basis of elapsed time, rather than odometer mileage when a car is rarely driven. This would include changing the brake fluid (it also accumulates water, as a result of condensation), and changing the coolant.
>Make sure that you check the tire pressure before you drive it every 2 weeks, and correct as necessary. You should buy both a tire pressure gauge and an electric tire inflator that you can plug into the cigarette lighter, in order to do this in the comfort of your own garage.
>Check the oil on a regular basis also.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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Never if it has been stored well. That topic makes for a long list.

I own a rust free conversion van built new in 1987, and living in the salt belt of NH I make sure the van never see's salt.

So for a good 6 months+ I never run the engine, and in fact jack it up off the ground, shovel snow off, and bring the battery into the cellar where it sits on a Shumaker auto float / anti sulfation pulse charger. (20 bucks at walmart)

I put on a new oil filter and change to new oil for winter storage and run the engine no less than 8 miles which is the time this engine (318 cu in) needs to be at full warm. In general I drive it a bit more than that, to around 15 miles out and 15 back at 55 MPH to fully warm the exhaust as water gets made.

Water gets made inside any engine as well, and right from water in the air. If the time the engine is run just warms the engine, and then it is shut off for a long time, any water made will condense and run down the engine webbing (casting) and under the oil, where it will meet any combustion bi-products, aka sludge, sulfuric acid and etc and combine in the mix, and make a nast mess.

In part this is why there are engine breathers on cars. To allow water made to be blown out, or in the modern world to be drawn in again and burned with the fuel.

Water is in the air, as O2 and is everywhere inside any engine warmed or stone cold, besides O2 in air is a part of fuel mix and water is released into the exhaust by both means at that point. It takes heat and exhaust flow to drove out the most of the water, which you mnay even see at time pouring out most any tail pipe just after a cold start.

2 miles is worse than nothing at all.

If you have been doing something like this, or know someone who has, check the oil filler cap on the bottom side. If the oil has had a substancial amount of water made in it, the filler cap will have a tan mung and goo on it.

That means the mung has coated every surface inside the engine above the oil level, and has combined pretty well with the oil.

IMO then what needs done is to wipe the cap off, for what little good that will do, change the oil and filter, and go for a long as fast as possible legal ride for so many hours as possible.

Another problem with these starts for no real reason is that engine wear metal parts most at each and every cold start!

Once an engine has started and come to operational temps there is very little wear.

If fuel was for free, it would be better to just leave engines running all the time, but not overly long at just idle.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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Retriever, you beat me typin'....
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:31 AM
 
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Is the two mile drive bad only on long parked cars or is it bad in general?

I am thinking it's very common for people to drive two to three miles to grocery stores, local XYZ, on a regular basis.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:41 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,412 posts, read 50,625,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset2000 View Post
Is the two mile drive bad only on long parked cars or is it bad in general?

I am thinking it's very common for people to drive two to three miles to grocery stores, local XYZ, on a regular basis.
It's bad for any car. You need to have it fully warmed up, then continue long enough to burn off any water from condensation. Cars driven infrequently need a lot more oil changes and will still be subject to faster wear of engine, transmission, radiator and exhaust system. The longest lasting cars are those that have a lot of highway driving.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:54 AM
 
13,569 posts, read 16,078,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
It's bad for any car. You need to have it fully warmed up, then continue long enough to burn off any water from condensation. Cars driven infrequently need a lot more oil changes and will still be subject to faster wear of engine, transmission, radiator and exhaust system. The longest lasting cars are those that have a lot of highway driving.

+1

While we all need to do some short drives on occasion (out of necessity), if you want your engine to last, you need to balance those short drives with longer highway drives that will evaporate the accumulated water in the oil. And, even by doing that myself, I still change my oil every 4k miles.

If I did all highway driving, I could wait until 6k to change the oil, but since I have some short trip local driving--particularly in the winter--I prevent engine damage by adhering to a 4k oil change interval. And, for those who don't drive very much, you have to remember to do your oil changes on the basis of elapsed time, rather than on the basis of odometer mileage! If I did very little driving, with most of that driving of the local, short-trip variety, I would change my oil every 6 months--even if I had only accumulated a couple of thousand miles in those 6 months.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:29 PM
 
Location: SW France
13,695 posts, read 13,573,646 times
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My neighbour's sister bought a new car from the car company she worked for. She didn't really need it and drove it two miles into town and the two miles back once a week. That was pretty much it!

The exhaust system dropped off after just a year through rust.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Ontario, NY
2,590 posts, read 5,887,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retriever View Post
If you are not going to drive a car very often, you should do the following:
Once every two weeks, take it out for a highway drive of 45 minutes to 1 hour.
I would think there must be a way to prep a car for long term storage that doesn't include running it every so often or changing the oil every 6 months. What if you filled the car with synthetic oil, and not just the 6 quarts you normally put into it, but fill it until the oil is at the very top of the cap. While you certainly couldn't run it this way, I would think everything be soaked in oil. You would just change the oil before trying to start it.

Put the car in a garage, disconnect the car battery, jack up the car, wash and wax the car and remove the tires, place the tires in plastic bags. There must be a better way to store a car. After all wasn't there a 1928 Mercedes found in a garage after 60 years and it started right up after minimal prep work.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:14 AM
 
13,569 posts, read 16,078,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechGromit View Post
I would think there must be a way to prep a car for long term storage that doesn't include running it every so often or changing the oil every 6 months.

Was the OP referring to a car that would be stored for the long term?
Or, was the OP referring to a car that would be driven occasionally?

You interpreted the question as the former, and I interpreted it as the latter, and I think that we really need the OP to return to the thread in order to clarify the question.

If car is going to be stored over a long period of time, then--yes--I agree with your approach.
If the car is going to be driven only a few times each year, then my approach would be the way to go.

Sunset2000--Can you clarify exactly what type of "sitting" this car will be doing?


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