What’s Harder on a Car? City or Highway Miles?

When you’re looking for a used car, you want to choose something reliable that won’t cost you a lot of extra money in maintenance and repair. But how do you know?

Of course, you can go by manufacturers—some cars have much better records of longevity and reliability. But after that?

One of them is maintenance and upkeep. Does the previous owner have detailed records and receipts of oil changes and other services? Did they take it to a reputable shop that has kept a close eye on the vehicle?

Car Odometer

If so, the next thing to look at is where and how the car was driven. Was it used for short bursts of driving around town, shopping, dropping the kids off, or other quick trips to nearby locations? Or, was it used mostly as a commuter vehicle—longer trips without lots of starting and stopping?

Surprisingly, if you have a choice of the same vehicle with the same amount of miles and similar mechanical records, you should choose the vehicle with more highway than city miles.

Why is this?

Potholes. Stop and go driving. Parking lots. Crowded streets. Life is harder for cars driven in the city. They often wind up looking more beat up. City miles are also hard on suspension systems and brakes. Plus, too many quick trips can mean the engine often doesn’t get up to full operating temperature. When this happens, the engine oil doesn’t get dispersed evenly and effectively, causing extra wear and tear on the engine.

Highway driving is much gentler on a vehicle. The roads are smoother. Popping the car into cruise control reduces the work of the transmission and the engine. Longer miles allow the charging system to work as it should, lengthening battery and alternator life.

The Clear Winner

All things being equal, choose the car with lots of highway miles over the one with city miles. You can check out someone’s “all-highway miles” claim by looking for dents and dings in the door. Highway use piles on the miles quickly, so a newer vehicle with lots of miles may indeed live up to its designation as an all-highway road warrior.

Of course, anytime you are going to buy a used vehicle, bring it to us for a used car inspection. We can give you a detailed overview of what the engine and other systems look like, and a better chance of accurately determining future performance.

We can also get you on a maintenance schedule. That way, we can watch your vehicle closely, making sure it is performing well and replacing parts before they fail and cause bigger issues. You will then have detailed records to show prospective buyers that it has been expertly maintained when you want to sell.

Drop on by

Our team is staffed with skilled customer service professionals and highly trained mechanics dedicated to making sure your vehicle gets you safely down the road. Aside from used car inspections, we perform nearly every service, including AC repairradiator repair, and transmission service on most makes and models. Call Bender’s Auto Care at 626-332-3022 or request an appointment online today!