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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 01:33 PM
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Question Short journeys and the effect on the engine

I have a Mini Cooper Clubman S Diesel.
I think i remember hearing that short journeys can impact on the engine and a while back, women who just drove into town and did the school run had issues with their cars because of that.

I am lucky that my place of work for half of the week is only 400 yards away. I can not walk there because of the equipment I require. Although I also do other trips on other days

My questions are…

Can short journeys really impact on the engine?

If so, where abouts does it impact, so I can inform the garage when the vehicle is next serviced?

Is there a way of preventing this (warming the car up first/throwing in longer journeys/driving very slowly/keeping the engine cold)?

Thank you.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2014, 07:07 AM
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Mainly impacts on oil quality since the engine and oil never reach full operating temperature. The result is that the moisture that collects in the oil never burns off and oil quality (and therefore ability to trap contaminants) suffers.

I have a 2009 Cooper D and do 10km to work in the morning and 10km return to home on a daily basis. I usually take it on a highway run during the weekend (75km minimum) and have done so for the last 5 years. I have never had any engine issues, but I do follow the harsh duty cycle schedule for engine oil changes (meaning more frequent changes than the onboard computer suggests). In my case, I do the oil roughly every 10,000km.

Currently I am almost at 125,000km and the car is doing well!

Not sure if the SD model has a particulate filter or not, but on the 2009 diesel engine, to burn off the accumulated soot the car needs to be run at more that 60km/hr for about 15 minutes which usually is only possible on a highway trip. In addition, an engine not at operating temperature will not burn fuel efficiently and therefore will cost you more money in fuel.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2014, 11:09 AM
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I don't think there is anything you can do to overcome all the effects of driving short distances - except not to do it!

Curiously one of the effects of a cold start is the risk of overheating bearings - not because the bearing is hot but because the oil is cold and viscous, so the bearing doesn't get as much oil flow as it does once the oil is warm. there's nothing that can be done about that - it's the price paid for short trips.

I believe warming up an engine stationary is bad for it - it warms up faster if driven gently.
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