Earlier this year my wife and I bought a Dodge...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

Earlier this year my wife and I bought a 1989 Dodge Daytona for our son to drive. Although he considers himself a student athlete, he considers it wise to drive the entire one-half-mile to school. My contention is that this is one of the worst things he might do to an automobile, since the oil and exhaust system never get warmed up enough to evaporate out condensation. I believe this shortens the life of the exhaust system and encourages the formation of sludge in the oil pan. And I believe that this is even worse in the winter. Although I realize it is not fashionable for a teenager to be seen walking to school, I have difficulty reconciling in my mind the images of a young man driving one-half-mile to school and then running several miles at track practice after school before driving one-half-mile back home. But I'm not asking for psychiatric help, just car advice. Is this bad for the car?

TOM: Absolutely, Richard. And you're 100 percent right about why it's bad. You've hit the nail right on the head.

RAY: But I wouldn't worry too much about your son's car. He's probably driving all over town during his lunch period with four girls in the back seat.

TOM: And, out of respect for your feelings about short drives, he probably quit the track team two months ago and is spending two more hours driving around after school.

RAY: So I'm sure the car is fine. I'm glad we were able to ease your mind, Richard. Don't hesitate to write again if anything else worries you.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One