How Driving Short Distances Affects Your Car

Woman checking rearview mirror in vehicle.Living close to “everything” can feel convenient, especially when all your favorite spots are only a quick drive away. But all of those short trips (particularly frequent ones) can have a significant impact on your vehicle! Learn how frequent short trips may be taking a toll on different parts of your vehicle and how to care for your car if your lifestyle calls for lots of little drives!

Is Driving Short Distances Bad for Car Motor Oil?

Engine oil is typically a thick and slow-moving fluid. But as your engine warms up, the oil heats up and becomes less dense, allowing it to flow more freely and lubricate your engine’s internal components efficiently.

On a quick drive, your motor may not reach its optimal operating temperature. This lack of heat can prevent your engine oil from reaching the ideal viscosity to lubricate your engine’s components as it was designed to.

Additionally, your motor oil also requires heat to rid itself of contaminants such as moisture and other combustion byproducts. When your engine doesn’t come to temperature, these contaminants aren’t effectively “evaporated” out of the oil, further compromising its integrity and performance.

Help ensure that your motor oil is still flowing like it should by avoiding frequent, short trips and having your oil changed regularly. Use your vehicle manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance benchmarks as a guideline, and visit us for your oil changes if you go on many quick drives.

Is Driving Short Distances Bad for Car Battery Life?

Starting your car demands a lot from your battery. In fact, getting the engine going is the task that demands the most energy from your car battery. As you drive, the alternator recharges the battery, so it’s ready for the next startup. But if you’re only taking short trips, your battery may not be getting the recharge it needs for the next time you start your vehicle.

This is certainly an annoyance if you happen to be away from home. But even worse, it can significantly shorten the life of your battery. Much like your engine needs several minutes to warm up to its optimal operating temperature, you’ll need to give your battery some driving time to recharge and prevent rapid depletion of battery power.

Short trips can be a surefire way to shorten your battery’s lifespan. Even if your battery isn’t very old, watch for signs of a weak battery — your engine might be slow to crank, your headlights may not be as bright as they used to be, or you might see a battery warning light on your dashboard.

It’s better to be on the side of caution and have your battery inspected at your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care and replaced if necessary.

Driving Short Distances? Here’s How to Care for Your Car

Living close to your daily conveniences has its perks, but all those short drives may be affecting your vehicle’s engine more than you realize! Stop by your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for a full-vehicle inspection and hassle-free repairs. We can replace a weak battery, change your oil, and identify any other potential damage under the hood. Trust the pros at Firestone Complete Auto Care to prevent and address the effects of short drives to help keep your car running newer, longer!

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