Ideal amount of time to drive my car

Mordru

2021 CX-9 GT
Hi everyone, looking for some opinions here.

I have the luxury of living super close to work, like 1.5 miles away, 5 minute drive.
It's not enough time/distance to even fully warm up the engine.

I think I have OCD in this regard and believe driving my car for longer intervals will improve its long-term reliability. So, I tend to take the "scenic route" on a highway nearby so I can drive it for at least 15 minutes and get the engine fully warmed up.

It's my understanding that constantly driving the car short-trips (it gets freezing here in the winter, regularly below 32F) is hard on the car, builds up excess moisture in the oil, etc etc. The routine maintenance schedule even has a different schedule if you regularly drive like this.

Am I totally wasting my time/gas driving the extra 10-15 minutes? It kills me inside to start the car, drive straight home and turn it off when the coolant temps are barely even out of the cold blue zone.

For context, I'm in a 2021 CX-9 GT
 
Hi everyone, looking for some opinions here.

I have the luxury of living super close to work, like 1.5 miles away, 5 minute drive.
It's not enough time/distance to even fully warm up the engine.

I think I have OCD in this regard and believe driving my car for longer intervals will improve its long-term reliability. So, I tend to take the "scenic route" on a highway nearby so I can drive it for at least 15 minutes and get the engine fully warmed up.

It's my understanding that constantly driving the car short-trips (it gets freezing here in the winter, regularly below 32F) is hard on the car, builds up excess moisture in the oil, etc etc. The routine maintenance schedule even has a different schedule if you regularly drive like this.

Am I totally wasting my time/gas driving the extra 10-15 minutes? It kills me inside to start the car, drive straight home and turn it off when the coolant temps are barely even out of the cold blue zone.

For context, I'm in a 2021 CX-9 GT

I would say that yes, you're wasting time and gas. If you follow the different schedule, it does account for the increased risk of oil dilution with more frequent oil changes. You can explore adding an oil catch can to see if you catch anything, and that would help in determining if there is an added risk of carbon build-up on the valves. Just keep in mind that installing one could void your powertrain warranty.

I would also be concerned with the battery not being recharged by the alternator properly with so many short trips, but you can mitigate this by putting a battery tender on it every once in a while.

You can also look into installing a remote starter to save on gas and time. Start the car up 5 mins before you leave and you might be able to avoid these problems altogether.
 
I'm in a similar situation and I've been using a battery tender for the last two years and that gives me peace of mind; I figured it was a waste of time and fuel (added pollution) to drive more just to charge the battery. When I go for an oil change, they can't believe how little mileage I put from the previous oil change!
 
I do have remote start equipped, and utilize it sometimes, but I'm torn if that's actually helping anything. Something about long idles isn't great for an engine either. So I honestly try to avoid using it. Damned if I do, damned if I don't! LOL

I also understand some of this is just my own over-thinking. Whatever it takes to make my brain go quiet and be at ease...

As far as I know, the main concerns with repeated short trips are:
1. Engine oil dilution
2. Increased carbon buildup
3. More wear on battery

Solutions would be:
1. More frequent oil changes
2. ???
3. Battery tender

Eventually the carbon buildup would do what..? Make the engine run like crap basically? I've heard one good long road trip will clean most of that up. There's also the pour-in products... But IDK about those.
 
I wouldn't consider 5 mins to be a long idle. I know plenty of people in my office who remote start so long in advance that the remote starter's auto-shutoff feature turns the car off before they get to it in the parking lot.

Carbon build-up symptoms start as slight decreases in fuel economy, and progress into rough idling and more pronounced NVH from the engine. If you do have carbon build-up, it can be cleaned by having a shop perform a walnut-blasting on the intake valves to clean them up.

Good news is that it doesn't seem to be a common issue on these engines. I'd say, don't worry about it until you start to notice the symptoms. At that point, I'd consider a walnut-blasting and then I'd consider some other preventative measures like taking longer drives or doing ITUs on the weekends, or running a chemical carbon cleaner through the system once a year.
 
Never heard of walnut blasting, just looked that one up. Interesting!

I like the idea of a regular ITU schedule, an excuse for me to take her out and give er the beans :D

"don't worry honey, it's really good for the car, she likes it rough"
 
Hi everyone, looking for some opinions here.

I have the luxury of living super close to work, like 1.5 miles away, 5 minute drive.
It's not enough time/distance to even fully warm up the engine.

I think I have OCD in this regard and believe driving my car for longer intervals will improve its long-term reliability. So, I tend to take the "scenic route" on a highway nearby so I can drive it for at least 15 minutes and get the engine fully warmed up.

It's my understanding that constantly driving the car short-trips (it gets freezing here in the winter, regularly below 32F) is hard on the car, builds up excess moisture in the oil, etc etc. The routine maintenance schedule even has a different schedule if you regularly drive like this.

Am I totally wasting my time/gas driving the extra 10-15 minutes? It kills me inside to start the car, drive straight home and turn it off when the coolant temps are barely even out of the cold blue zone.

For context, I'm in a 2021 CX-9 GT

In my opinion, taking the long way to work and then again home, is a good solution. It'll be better for the CX and it doesn't add THAT MUCH more time or wear and tear to the car.

If it were me and I lived that close to work, I would do whatever I can to either walk to work or, even better, bicycle to work. Assuming of course that it's safe for you to do so and obviously, weather permitting.
 
In my opinion, taking the long way to work and then again home, is a good solution. It'll be better for the CX and it doesn't add THAT MUCH more time or wear and tear to the car.

If it were me and I lived that close to work, I would do whatever I can to either walk to work or, even better, bicycle to work. Assuming of course that it's safe for you to do so and obviously, weather permitting.
In the warmer months I am on my Suzuki Sv-600 :)
 

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In the warmer months I am on my Suzuki Sv-600 :)
What's your annual mileage on your CX-9? If it's only say 1,000-2,000 miles it seems like you need to change the oil only once or preferably twice a year. My situation is similar i.e. short driving distances yet different somehow. We are retirees in our '70s and for the past couple of years I've been thinking about having only one vehicle; my wife has a 2015 Juke AWD which she loves (I don't) and she finds my CX-5 too big and not sporty enough. I would be ready for a compromise like a CX-30 that we could share but she's not ready yet...so that's why 2 years ago I bought a battery tender as my ride is mostly a grocery getter! Before that, I used to drive around the block a couple of times to charge the battery before parking on the street and I didn't like the idea. My wife parks in the garage so I have to move my vehicle to let her out as she has many activities. We can't park overnight on the street in the winter.
 
Solution for #2: Italian tune up every weekend :)
Yup.

I also live 10 minutes from work. I've noticed my engine is warming up faster with the turbo than the NA motor did. But during the winter it's not completely there yet, though I have heat.

On your trip to the store, which is typically a little longer, give it some gas. I try to go WOT weekly once the engine is fully up to temperature. This is mainly for the concern of carbon buildup.
 
I am 2 miles from my door to my job. Didn't plan that. Been doing this for 3 years now. I absolutely warm it up for 5-10 minutes. Contrary to common belief I do not believe idling is bad for a car. People say it is a waste of time and money and gas and is environmentally irresponsible. Also everyone says "Cars are designed to heat up faster when you are moving". And this is 100% true. It can take 15 minute for a idling car to start blowing heat. A driven car will do it in a 3rd of the time.
This is what I hear about idling...not that it's BAD for the car.

Everyone already gave you proper advice. I don't feel bad for just doing the short trip but this is why I change the oil 2x annually no matter the mileage. Winter and Spring.
Usually 2 times a week I will take the "long way" home and hop on the freeway. Doing a big circle.

But really, just change the oil more frequently. Literally the only thing you MUST do.

And yea, Conrad...I ride my bike all summer any chance I get. Put 1,000 miles on it in 3 years...and I'm 2 miles from work. Sometimes take the long way home on that thing, too. :)
 

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Nice lil bikes! It's still 1.5 miles, is a bicycle not an option for you?
It is an option and I probably could, but the motorcycles are way too fun! Actually thats an old pic, I sold that '93 EX-500 and only have the '19 SV600 now.

It's mandatory to take the scenic route on the motorcycle! And even when I'm hard on the acceleration at every opportunity, im still easily getting 40+ mpg. It's a shame I cant ride 4+ months every year.
 
Contrary to common belief I do not believe idling is bad for a car.
It is.
People say it is a waste of time and money and gas and is environmentally irresponsible.
Exactly for these reasons
Also everyone says "Cars are designed to heat up faster when you are moving". And this is 100% true.

It can take 15 minute for a idling car to start blowing heat. A driven car will do it in a 3rd of the time.
And this
This is what I hear about idling...not that it's BAD for the car.

Idling, when cold, without any load on the drivetrain, while the engine runs rich is wearing out your engine, wasting fuel and doing almost nothing as far as warm up goes.

A few minutes isn't a big deal. I think any longer is. No matter how short the driving distance is, its still best to just take off, drive gentle and steady.
 
Engine is one thing but also thinking about the transmission and trans. oil. That is only going to warm up while driving, idling wont do jack.

While Im on that thought, Mazda claims the trans oil is "lifetime". I know thats BS, so what intervals do y'all change your trans oil? Im at 70k mileage from previous owner and Im assuming mines never been changed.
 
Engine is one thing but also thinking about the transmission and trans. oil. That is only going to warm up while driving, idling wont do jack.

While Im on that thought, Mazda claims the trans oil is "lifetime". I know thats BS, so what intervals do y'all change your trans oil? Im at 70k mileage from previous owner and Im assuming mines never been changed.
This has been discussed ad naseum.

Go to a trans shop. Change the strainer (filter) as well. Do it every 60k max.
 
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