I have an 04 Corolla that travels < 1 mile twice a day. Is this bad for the car?

Reading online, I get a lot of mixed answers, so I'm hoping for definitive answer.

In freezing temperatures, I let the car warm up until the temperature gauge moves (is this important?). Regardless, I drive gently.

One advice I've read is to change the oil more frequently, is this sound advice?

  • ever wondered why taxis (guess you call them cabs in the U.S)achieve such high mileage? Because most run 24/7 at operating temperature
    – mike
    Apr 7, 2014 at 10:02

3 Answers 3


This is true. One of the things which happens when you drive your car, is it allows your car to completely warm up, which evaporates any water which may be in the oil. Small amounts of water in the oil can contribute to corrosion in your crank case and everything contained there-in. Changing your oil will help with this. Driving your vehicle on a 10-20 mile jaunt once a week will alleviate this problem. Driving it this way will also ensure all of your seals are properly lubed as well. Without it, they can dry up and might start leaking. There are some other factors to consider as well, such as having your gas go bad for sitting too long. Gas has the tendency to collect water over time and go bad (without treatment, usually is only good for 1-2 months maximum). To avoid this, just don't leave much gas in the tank, and make the trip to the gas station on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to ensure fresh gas is in your tank (or use a gas stabilizer such as Stabil). Running with less gas in the tank will also help with fuel mileage, as you will be carrying less weight in the vehicle (NOTE - I know someone is going to say something, so will mention: If you are storing a vehicle for a long period of time, it is better to actually COMPLETELY fill the tank along with fuel stabilizer or drain it completely so as to avoid fuel spoilage). Hope this helps.

EDIT: Also, consider riding a bike or walking ... If under a mile, it'd be good for you :P

EDIT2: Was reminded, you should follow your manufacturer's guidelines on oil changes which states for mileage AND for time.

  • 2
    WRT Frequency of oil change: might want to remind OP that maintenance schedules are both distance and time, whichever comes first.
    – Bob Cross
    Mar 13, 2014 at 13:12
  • 1
    @BobCross ... sounds like you already did :D Mar 13, 2014 at 14:10
  • 1
    +1 for the cycle or walk suggestion - 1 mile will be about 15-20 minutes at an average walking speed, which is probably quicker than waiting for the car to warm up, dealing with traffic, then hunting for a parking space!
    – Nick C
    Mar 20, 2014 at 11:12
  • @NickC ... He did say less than an mile, shouldn't be too stressful. Enjoy the outdoors ... unless of course he's in Beijing China. Mar 20, 2014 at 12:44

If you only drive short distances, the battery will be drained for power, because it don't get enought time to recover and recharge. Especially in winter and it's cold outside, you turn on all heaters in the car, driver seat, heater in windows. You should drive longer distances once a week or recharge the battery so you don't damage it.


Moisture in the crankcase and in the exhaust system seems to be the two biggest issues. More frequent oil changes are a good insurance policy. I don't think there's much you can do about the exhaust. For the extremely short distance I would not warm up the car at all. This will reduce the amount of moisture created and not burned off.

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