Are short distances bad for a diesel

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mjmdtm

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Sep 1, 2012
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Since retirement is within our grasp(God willing) we are considering downsizing to one vehicle....so my question is .....do short runs around town damage or shorten the life of a diesel truck?  Or should we just buy something to run around town in.....thanks so much for all your input!!
 

donn

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You are saying what brand of diesel, so here goes.....  Older diesels (pre emission) it is probably OK to do that.  Although no diesel likes to sit still.  Newer emission laden ones it is really not advisable.  The DPF gets clogged up, and when that happens,it requires a trip at highway speeds to clean it out.  Personally I would opt for some cheap used car for around town commuting. SIL bought a uses Honda about 4 years ago for commuting in.  So far it has cost hom nothing except for gas and oil.  They still drive it almost daily and probably will for the foreseeable future.
 

ironrat

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No engine of any kind maintains its health in short runs. They all need to reach full operating temps for a period of time to (lack) of a better word boil off the water and other items in its oil to reduce the sludge build ups that happen when the engine does not get the oil to temp for any length of time. The diesel in some cases is worst because it usually takes longer to warm the oil, other than that there is no difference in the two engine types as far as short runs.
 

lavarock1210

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Depending on the percentage of miles that are actually towing.  You may want to look a gas engine.  I have a friend who does about 15% towing and 85% without a trailer.  He got a new Chevy HD 2500 with the 6.0 gas.  He is happy as a lark.  The new gas engines are very close to the same horsepower as the diesels.  It does require more rpm but that is the nature of gas vs diesel.  With diesel now at 50 cents per gallon more than gas there is not much advantage for diesel.  Plus a gas engine truck will run almost $10,000 less.
 

RVRAC

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I have a diesel car and from time to time acts out.  The dealer says it needs to be run in the freeway to avoid acting out.  It is a 2012. Keep this in mind.
 

Joezeppy

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No personal experience but FWIW my neighbor has two F350 diesel duallies. The 1999 is his daily driver (short and long distances) and the other (2002 I think) is his baby that sits in the garage all winter and only comes out on sunny days and/or to haul his tri-axle gooseneck trailer which contains an antique John Deere tractor. He has never had any issues with it sitting for long periods of time. He takes meticulous care of all his vehicles and equipment.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
ironrat said:
No engine of any kind maintains its health in short runs. an that there is no difference in the two engine types as far as short runs.

IronRat said it best.. NO engine, Not diesel, Not gasoline, New or old does not matter, NO engine likes short runs save for ELECTRIC, they don't mind short runs.

Back in the good old days my parents had a buick (This was about 1960 give or take a few years and the car was a few years old) 7 miles to town each way, about 10 to church on Sunday and the car ran fairly rough, If we wanted to go to the City that was 20-30 miles, and the car would run rougher and routher,  100 Miles to Ann Arbor and it ran much better for the next few weeks.  Now that one was "Extreme"

Most engines, 1/2 hour is the recommended minumum run time.. That said, NOT every run needs to be 1/2 hour.  A few short trips, with a good hard run every once in a while.. Well that's how we kept that buick in running order.
 

elkhornsun

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Dec 10, 2011
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It takes a minimum of 20 minutes even in good weather for an engine to reach its designed operating temperature. In the meantime it is adding pollutants to the engine oil that will shorten the engine's life. This is worse for diesel engines but still not good for gas engines which is why the recommended oil change levels for this type of use are at half or a third the mileage of a vehicle that is used mostly for trips of an hour or longer.

Our diesel truck gets 11-12 MPG with short trips but our Prius gets 45 MPG and regular gas is 15-25% cheaper than diesel and the battery, tires, shocks, etc. are a lot cheaper to replace on the Prius. We also have our insurance adjusted so the truck is rated as a low mileage vehicle which is another savings if we use it primarily for camping trips.
 

edjunior

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Roman Forest, TX.
I am one of those "short-run daily drivers".  My daily trip to the bus stop is about 15 miles, with about 12 of it on the freeway at 70 mph.  I am a "weekender" as far as camping, pulling my 5th wheel 6 - 8 weekend trips during an average year, with an occassional longer trip.  In addition to my daily driving, I do many shorter trips around the area (I live a bit away from the "city life").  My last diesel had near 70,000 miles on it when I traded it for this one, and ran great and had no issues.  This one has about 16,000 with no issues.  I think as long as it gets its "Sunday drive in the country" every now and then, and it's properly maintained, you should have no problems with it.  You mention diesel specifically, so I assume you have a trailer big enough to warrant the diesel.  Are you planning on "seeing the country" after you retire?  If so, I doubt the shorter trips between pulls will be much of a factor.

My 2cents and personal experience.
 
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