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As part of maintenance we need to keep the cars in check, which includes monthly driving on the road for X miles depending on the car/model. Please avoid trying to prove this process is obsolete, it is part of the QC process for all cars in the collection. Which might bring us to this post:

Do fast cars need to occasionally be driven fast?

I am not questioning if this is useful or not. Question is, can dynamometers be used to simulate driving for long ranges at various speeds for many hours? If not, are there other solutions you can think of?

Solution might resemble this Cars 3 movie screenshot, where they drive on simulators. Of course in our case, there is no need for giant screen, nor for base that moves around to simulate road curves.

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At the moment this "driving QC" step is done by actually driving the car around for hours on public roads, which increases wear and tear, and risk of accidents. If relevant, collection includes top end luxury and racing cars.

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"Driving" the car on a dyno/rolling road will approximate road driving for the most part and should ensure that the drivetrain gets the roughly the same benefits as a real-world drive and will keep wear and tear on suspension and steering components to a minimum (just as if you were driving straight on flat smooth tarmac for many miles).

Pros:

  • No significant wear/tear on suspension and steering components
  • Assuming the dyno is at the same location as the car is stored or you can transport it there then there is no need for the car to be road-legal to do this (useful for racing cars or for cars that are being stored for an extended period of time)
  • No exposure to environmental factors such as rain, road salt, stone chips etc
  • No exposure to the risk of an accident with another roaduser

Cons/Pitfalls:

  • Expensive - dynos aren't cheap items, either to purchase or operate. If buying your own you're going to need some seriously deep pockets as well as a suitable (and non-trivial) amount of space to dedicate to it. If using a third party's then you have to drive (or otherwise transport) the car(s) to the dyno and pay for the use of the dyno. Which if you were wanting to do for any real length of time is going to get expensive.

  • Airflow - while by no means a deal breaker this is something that has to be considered. Many of the dyno setups I've used struggle to get airflow comparable to what you'd see in the real world for the speeds that the dyno is simulating and this can compromise cooling of the car. It's not uncommon to see heatsoak developing after only a few minutes of use and depending upon the car this could be a problem if the intent was to use it for hours at a time as while you wouldn't be doing quite the same full-load running as a power run for that full period the ability of the car to dissipate heat is going to be seriously compromised without a pretty extensive cooling set up and that could have knock-on effects for various components.


Chassis dynamometers manufacturers (source Wikipedia):

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  • Thank you for pro/cons, "rolling road" is it a product, or part of using dyno as a road? If it is a product, could you add some links to the product website? Could you clarify, give an example, if the dyno can be used for hours. From searches, I see it is only used for 5-10 mins to get the torque/hp/speed measured. In my case I would drive on it for hours, possible? – zx8754 Apr 25 '18 at 13:40
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    While not putting as much wear/tear on the vehicle, there should be mention of the wear/tear on the dyno. This would need to be figured into the overall cost of ownership, transferring the cost from the vehicle to the dyno. As you stated, dynos aren't cheap ... repairing them from wear isn't cheap either. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 25 '18 at 13:46
  • Cooling for the rolling road itself is a concern and they tend to get overly hot after a few power runs. Don't forget you also need a way to extract noxious fumes produced by the vehicle. – Steve Matthews Apr 25 '18 at 13:50
  • @zx8754 "rolling road" isn't a specific product - more of a colloquial term used to refer to the sort of dyno you're talking about a.k.a a "chassis dyno" (i.e. where the whole vehicle is on the dyno using rollers) as opposed to pure engine dynos a.k.a "bench dyno". As for using them for hours as long as adequate cooling is supplied this shouldn't really be a problem, especially if you aren't going flat out for hours on end. It's not uncommon for mappers to use dynos for creating/modifying maps and this can take quite some time. – motosubatsu Apr 25 '18 at 14:03
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    @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 You're correct of course.. I confess I'm not hugely knowledgeable about ongoing wear/tear and associated costs of a dyno but I don't doubt that there are some and they could be significant (I imagine they could get very significant if you are talking about full braked dynos) – motosubatsu Apr 25 '18 at 14:05

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