I am not a very sporty driver because high speeds frighten me. My car is a 2013 BMW F30 with N13 engine. I always drive slowly whether i am in a city or on a highway. I never ever go past 90 kph (56 mph) speed. The car idles around 1000 rpm and generally shifts up the gear around 2000 RPM (its an automatic). When in a highway going at 90 kph, engine revs 1500 RPM.

So my engine never sees 2500 RPM or higher. Does this really hurt the engine? I heard from people that always driving in low RPMs makes carbon build up in engine and things like that. Is that real?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Sep 5, 2021 at 22:39
  • Don't tell this story to anyone passionate to BMW. :)
    – fraxinus
    Sep 6, 2021 at 19:49
  • @fraxinus Lol yes i always get comments like "do you REALLY drive that car like that". I say yes, exactly.
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    Sep 8, 2021 at 13:13
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    Sep 8, 2021 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


Basically, no. The big thing here is to ensure you once in a while drive it on the highway at highway speeds for a period of time. This will help to keep the carbon buildup down to a minimum. It's really the heat which is what you need. You're ensuring when you drive it for a while that the engine is completely heat soaked. Doing this and proper maintenance will keep the vehicle in good shape. Seeing as how you don't stress your vehicle all that much will usually mean it will last longer.

  • So we are not talking about the old days, turning 400 or 500 RPM with a standard shift and a large V8 ? Sep 6, 2021 at 0:16
  • @blacksmith37 - No, we're not. Even in the "good ole days" of a large V8, it didn't hurt them to run them at low RPMs. If you were at 2500, that's not particularly "low" rpm. Before fuel injection, that would probably be right where torque peak was at, which is where you get your best gas mileage. Sep 6, 2021 at 0:50
  • Don't forget in the good old days (Pre 1980), a car typically lasted only 100,000 miles or so. Now 225,000 is more likely. Its not just engine rpm, but that had a lot to do with it. New cars can have a ten speed automatic transmission. Old school could have had only three. Add some ecoat primer (generally introduced on almost all cars by 1995 or so) and that helped the equation greatly...
    – zipzit
    Sep 6, 2021 at 5:57
  • Mine typically went to 130,000+ and then the engines were excellent but rust destroyed the body. Sep 6, 2021 at 15:13

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