Should Cars Have Engine Timers?

twistedredbird

Well-Known Member
Apr 26, 2008
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Midwest
Just pondering the debate of highway miles versus city miles.

For example, I drive two hours round trip for my commute, but it is 95% highway, and travel 175 miles.

Where someone in the close burbs drives in the congested city and drives two hours round trip, but only travels 30-40 miles.

In five years, I have 100,000 miles on my vehicle, they have 50,000 or less.

Same time on the road, but less miles. My uncle says he goes by tire usage. If it is the same car, someone who does a lot of heavy city driving with lots of stopping and acceleration will put much fewer miles on tires than a highway driver.

In my case, I have 90K on my tires and the mechanic said their fine through summer still.

I know a lot of heavy equipment comes with engine timers, so thought maybe cars should have them too.
 

IAStubborn

Well-Known Member
Aug 16, 2012
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Yes odd they dont... my lawn mower does. Also more effective in scheduling maintance for oil changes etc.
 

cyflier

Active Member
Apr 13, 2006
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Ouch, two hours round trip, 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month. That's a whole another work week a month.
 

kingcy

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2006
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Menlo, Iowa
You mean an hour meter.

Both of my pickups have them.

I guess I dont understand what you are getting at. Why would hours be an advantage over miles on a car.

As for tires why would you replace them before they are wore out, reguardless of miles?
 
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ISUAlum2002

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2006
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Urbandale
Better be an awesome, lucrative paying job to drive that much to get there every day. I don't even spend 2 hours in my car each week for my commute.

Although I think an engine timer would be beneficial, don't be fooled into believing your highway miles are just easy going on the vehicle. The suspension gets beat up as much or even worse at highway speeds and the engine/drivetrain is still stressed while pushing the vehicle's weight. Generally speaking, the brakes and tires get less wear while driving a majority of miles at highway speeds rather than the stop and go city driving, but the rest of the vehicle is getting rattled exponentially more while driving double or triple the speed of city driving.
 

ISUAgronomist

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Nov 5, 2009
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Close Enough, IA
I guess I dont understand what you are getting at. Why would hours be an advantage over miles on a car.

That way you can calculate average mph over the life of the car if buying second-hand. Gives the buyer a true look into its usage. Was it a highway commuter or stop-and-go commuter?
 

kingcy

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2006
21,853
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Menlo, Iowa
That way you can calculate average mph over the life of the car if buying second-hand. Gives the buyer a true look into its usage. Was it a highway commuter or stop-and-go commuter?

It can tell you where it was drove, not how it was drove and cared for. In many cases with todays cars they car themself will fall apart before the engine or powertrain gives out.
 

twistedredbird

Well-Known Member
Apr 26, 2008
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Whether by train Bus or car two hour round trip commute for people that work in Chicago are quite common. I actually do both but fortunately only have to go into the city twice a week.

But my point was that the value of my car is much less than someone who actually drive less miles but probably is in better shape And that by tracking Engine hours: could be a more reflective gauge of use As a previous poster mention
 

cyclonedave25

Well-Known Member
Jul 10, 2007
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Chicago, IL
Whether by train Bus or car two hour round trip commute for people that work in Chicago are quite common. I actually do both but fortunately only have to go into the city twice a week.

But my point was that the value of my car is much less than someone who actually drive less miles but probably is in better shape And that by tracking Engine hours: could be a more reflective gauge of use As a previous poster mention

I'm lucky, my commute is only a 1 hour round trip. (20 mile round trip)
On Friday evening rush hour, it takes me about 1 hour to go 10 miles.
Sometimes, in Chicago, it's not so much "stop and go" traffic, its the "stop" traffic. haha
 

besserheimerphat

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2006
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Mount Vernon, WA
Whether by train Bus or car two hour round trip commute for people that work in Chicago are quite common. I actually do both but fortunately only have to go into the city twice a week.

But my point was that the value of my car is much less than someone who actually drive less miles but probably is in better shape And that by tracking Engine hours: could be a more reflective gauge of use As a previous poster mention

If you've got 100,000 miles versus someone else having 50,000, regardless of stop-and-go vs highway, your powertrain has turned A LOT more revs than theirs. More revs = more wear/degradation = less remaining life. The biggest difference is just in what's most likely to fail next. The stop-and-go driver is more likely to have smaller electrical/sensor issues which are often caused by heat cycles or vibration, and the highway driver has more wear on their main bearings, piston rings, etc. But honestly with a modern car the probability of failure for either of these cars is pretty low.
 

besserheimerphat

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2006
7,158
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Mount Vernon, WA
Hour meters are commonly found in diesels, mostly because diesel engines are used to power large commercial/industrial equipment where reliability is absolutely critical. These applications tend to operate at relatively constant speeds and loads (similar to highway driving in a passenger car) so they can estimate a number of revolutions based on in-service time. This is really effective for things like oil changes, filter changes, belts, or any other maintenance item because at steady state operation it's fairly straightforward to characterise the degradation of each component under constant conditions.
 

ISUME

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2012
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Hour meters are commonly found in diesels, mostly because diesel engines are used to power large commercial/industrial equipment where reliability is absolutely critical. These applications tend to operate at relatively constant speeds and loads (similar to highway driving in a passenger car) so they can estimate a number of revolutions based on in-service time. This is really effective for things like oil changes, filter changes, belts, or any other maintenance item because at steady state operation it's fairly straightforward to characterise the degradation of each component under constant conditions.

The warranties are also based on hours because of the issues you listed.
 

LivntheCyLife

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2006
1,662
602
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St. Louis, MO
I think if you know the year of the car and the number of miles, you can make a pretty good guess on the number of highway miles relative to stop and go driving. If you see a 2008 vehicle and it has 100,000 miles, it's a pretty good bet a lot of those are highway miles. People who are driving only in a congested city just aren't going to put that many miles on a car. Everybody's commute likely starts and ends with some stop and go driving, it's just how many highway miles are in between. I don't think the hours on the car would tell you much more. The biggest exception would be a car used for work with deliveries or something like that.
 

MNCYWX

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
2,070
590
113
Med City, MN
Just pondering the debate of highway miles versus city miles.

For example, I drive two hours round trip for my commute, but it is 95% highway, and travel 175 miles.

Where someone in the close burbs drives in the congested city and drives two hours round trip, but only travels 30-40 miles.

In five years, I have 100,000 miles on my vehicle, they have 50,000 or less.

Same time on the road, but less miles. My uncle says he goes by tire usage. If it is the same car, someone who does a lot of heavy city driving with lots of stopping and acceleration will put much fewer miles on tires than a highway driver.

In my case, I have 90K on my tires and the mechanic said their fine through summer still.

I know a lot of heavy equipment comes with engine timers, so thought maybe cars should have them too.

Damn lead foot. Nearly 90mph!
 

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