Reader Question: “Jackrabbit” Starts?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Bill asks: Huge fan; initially learned of you from Lew Rockwell’s great site. Are there any resources you know of, other than your well-studied opinion, of course, that would provide good info on new/newer ICE cars that are dependable and last long regardless of drivers always employing jackrabbit starts? I’m asking for a friend with an addiction.

My reply: Rapid acceleration is harder on tires (and clutches, if the car has a manual transmission) than the engine because those items are more subject to wear caused by friction. Assuming the engine is properly lubricated (this means following recommended changeout intervals) almost any make/model ICE vehicle’s engine is likely to last much longer before anything expensive goes wrong than any electric car (which will need a replacement battery much sooner; this being an inevitable result of battery degradation over time caused by discharge/charge cycling).

Of course, some cars – the whole thing, not just the engine – have a better track record for long-term durability than others. It is very hard to go wrong with a Toyota Corolla or Camry, for instance. These are both “15-20” (and 200,000 mile) cars.

Tell your friend the main cost of those “jackrabbit” starts is gas mileage!  Also that doing the same in an EV will have a similar cost  . . . in terms of range!

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  1. Those same folks usually race right up to red lights and slam on the brakes at the last minute.

    OTOH, don’t tarry when the light turns green. Quick look both ways for red light runners and then get out of the way so people behind you can get going.

    • Especially when there’s a big rig trying to time the light so as to not stop. Many’s the time I’ve laid into it only to be forced to slam on the brakes because some ahole won’t go on. I only do this on hard grades with several lights that you can make if you get the first one without stopping.

      And another thing, don’t pull right up close to a big rig on a grade. If you have any sort of problem you can roll backward and that car behind you will be the victim and you’ll be to blame. Cops even admit that truckers always get the ticket.

      A friend was talking about his 08 Duramax that would really melt the tires from a start but his new one a couple years ago wouldn’t do it. What he didn’t realize was the computer wouldn’t allow him to do that since it shortens the life of everything and uses more fuel. I’ve often wondered at what rate they accelerate on the EPA fuel economy tests.


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