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Do Cars Need Rest During Long Trips? (Quick Answers!)

Despite what a lot of people think, keeping the engine running for a long period of time does not actually do any damage to it, although there’s a bit more to it than that.

So long as your engine is in good working condition, there’s no need to rest it when you have a long distance to travel.

Do Cars Need Rest?
Cars do not need to rest under normal conditions. As long as they don’t heat up you can continue driving. It’s important to monitor the temperature of the engine to make sure it doesn’t overheat in very warm weather conditions.

Here’s everything you need to know about stops you need to take during long hauls.

How often should cars rest on a long trip?

The simple answer to that is never.

But of course, this is not possible. But if somehow it was, if you could find a magical fuel that never runs out, then there would actually be no need to ever rest your car when you’re taking long road trips.

One time when you will have no option but to rest the engine is when you need to stop for fuel.

When you’re taking a particularly long road trip, it’s going to be almost impossible to get to your destination without having to stop for refueling.

When you top up your fuel tank, you will need to turn the engine off first. So even though you don’t need to rest the engine for the sake of the engine, you do need to rest it for the sake of being able to continue with your journey.

There is however an exception to this rule.

This rule applies only if you drive in a safe and efficient manner.

A lot of new drivers may not be fully away about how to do this and are more likely to drive in a fashion that’s going to require you to take extra breaks to allow the engine to cool down.

In very warm weather you will need to give the engine a break. You can monitor the temperature on the dashboard:

Or you might be driving an old car with a not very good engine, such engines may be required some cooling down periods.

But even if you think your car is old, it’s probably not going to be old enough to need extra breaks.

Although the engines don’t need to rest, you do!

When you’re taking a long trip, it’s recommended that you rest for at least 15 minutes every two hours.

This will prevent you from getting too tired and unable to concentrate on what’s on the road ahead.

If you’re driving, and you ever feel tired, it’s going to be best if you take a few minutes out to get your head together.

Are long trips bad for your car?

As you may have already worked out from what we’ve spoken about in the previous section, the simple answer is no.

Generally speaking, long trips are not going to be bad for your car.

In fact, many newer cars run on diesel and they have a better time when they are driven over a long distance!

But to minimize damage even further it’s going to be a good idea to educate yourself on how to drive as efficiently as you possibly can. Because driving, in general, is going to wear the engine out, even if long trips don’t do any particular damage.

However, this again might change depending on how how well you’re driving and how old your car is.

If anything, it’s not long trips which are going to be bad for your car, it’s short trips.

Diesel engines need long trips

The time when the engine will be using up the most power at any given moment is when the engine is turned on and off.

And this power is the same regardless as to whether you’ll be driving for 5 minutes or 10 hours. Therefore it’s going to be better for your car to take 1 x 10-hour trips as opposed to 20 x 30-minute trips.

There’s no point in complaining about how a long road trip is going to damage your car if you drive to work every day.

Having said that, in order for your car to be okay on long road trips, you need to make sure that everything is working fine. But if there is something which is not up to scratch, then it might become dangerous when you set out on your trip.

This includes aspects such as:

  • The oil
  • the tires
  • the breaks,
  • and the engine. 

How you can make sure these things are all okay will be spoken about later in the article.

But so long as everything is in good condition, you shouldn’t come across any issues.

There are also certain obstacles that you might meet when you’re on your trips, which could affect how well the car will work in the long runs. These things can take a toll on the engine, and cause it to have issues in the future.

This includes driving uphill, which will make the engine use more power. Driving an old car, with an engine that isn’t very good. Or traffic jams, which make you keep the engine on even when you’re not moving.

How long can I drive on one stretch?

To be quite honest, the only single answer to this question is another question:
‘How long until you have to stop for refueling?’

The average car can usually run for around 7-8 hours before you need to stop in order to add more fuel to your car.

Although this is technically a rest, as your engine will be turned off, and you won’t be moving, it will not be rest for the sake of your car, it will only be done so that you can continue to drive it.

However, the 7-8 hours rule is only an average.

Some of the older cars are not that efficient and therefore will require you refuel them more often.

Usually every 4-5 hours.

Some of the more modern cars, however, are more efficient and you will need to give them a top-up of gas less often. Usually every 12-15 hours.

In short, there is no single answer as to how often you need to stop your car during road trips, as it will depend entirely on how often you need to add more fuel.

And all the cars are different.

Things that will increase the amount of fuel:

  • If you’re going up a hill, you will use up the fuel quicker. The number of gas stops you will be required to take is going to increase.
  • If you’re going to be driving at high speeds this can also use up more gas than needed.

But whilst your car’s engine might be able to last for 15 hours without rest, your body’s cannot. If you continue to drive when you’re becoming tired, then you will not be able to give your full focus to your driving, and therefore increase the chances of being involved in an accident.

Remember to stop for at least 15 minutes every 2 hours.

How to prepare your car for a long trip

In order to make sure you don’t need to stop unless you’re stopping for fuel, you should make sure that everything in your car is in good working order.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the engine is able to run smoothly by having it checked before you leave.

Make sure your oil levels are sufficient, this way, the engine will always remain lubricated.

And also make sure that the filter is clean, this way it will be able to filter the air properly, and jam the engine with yucky stuff.

Another part of your car that’s very important, is the tires. You need to be sure that they’re properly inflated because flat tires are not only very difficult to drive with, but they can also be incredibly dangerous.

So before you set off, it’s a good idea to check the tire pressure. You can do this by using a special device that you screw onto the nozzle of your tire. If it’s flat, take it to a garage for a pump-up.

If they keep going flat, then it’s probably time to get yourself some new tires.

Another vital aspect is the brakes. Because if they don’t work, you don’t want to find out when you’re approaching a busy junction.

And the final part of the car that you need to prepare is the driver. Because if the driver is not in the right condition, he/she will not be able to be as alert as they should be.

This means making sure to have plenty of water in the car with you, being sure to eat a meal, and if you get hungry, stop off for a lunch break.

The driver is the most important part of any car.

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