I have a 10 year old car with 100K miles on it, in good shape. Normally I drive 40 miles total for work on weekdays, which obviously causes almost no wear-and-tear to my car. But if I went on a 500 mile road trip in a single day, it obviously may cause some damage internally and definitely to tires, etc. So what is the Most miles one would ideally drive his car in a Single day to decrease this wear-and-tear? 50, 100, 200 miles? For example, instead of driving 500 if I drove 250 for 2 days each would that be better?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! You can actually drive 500 miles in one day in the UK? ;-) Dec 14 '18 at 14:32
  • Perhaps the question should be "how many miles, as a minimum, should be driven to avoid damage"... Some drive 300m to get a litre of milk
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 14 '18 at 14:56

There is little difference between driving a short distance and a long distance in a single day. Longer journeys are typically completed at higher speeds and in top gear which actually causes less wear than the stop-start driving in a city. Also, on a longer journey, the vehicle stays at optimum operating temperature for a greater percentage of it's time. Most damage occurs in terms mechanical wear when the engine oil is cold.

I can't see any manufacturer publishing guidance stating there is a maximum daily mileage limit but I do recall manufacturers publishing articles boasting about 2 million mile and higher cars that were still going strong.

Bear in mind that not using a car is actually more dangerous for a cars condition than driving it regularly because lack of use can cause any number of issues.

  • The answer your refactored question, in terms of wear and tear, driving 500 miles in one day would be marginally better than driving 250 miles over two days because on the second day, the car has to warm up again. Dec 14 '18 at 14:27

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