Piston Slap: The Ultimate Commute?
It’s convenient you just posted your plea for emails because I have been letting one brew for a while now. I have been following TTAC for about a year now. I’ve been conflicted on a classic question for quite a while now and thought I would open it up to you and the TTAC readers. Here is my situation:
My daily driver is a 2004 330i sedan (6-speed stick, of course). My commute is long and the car is going to reach 110k soon. For my daily commute, I have 2 routes to choose from.
- Route 1
*54.3 miles one way, average mpg of 31, 1hr transit time, 90% highway.
*40 of those highway miles are in light traffic where I can reliably hold cruise control at 65-70 without interruption.
*A very low stress route against traffic AM and PM. Also very boring most days.
*$291.94/mo @ $4/gal for premium gas
- Route 2
*44.5 miles one way, average mpg of 27.5, 1hr 10min transit time
*Mixed urban, rural and 1 lane beautiful winding country roads with many lights and stop signs for the first 23 miles. Few opportunities for extended use of cruise control.
*This route is STRESSFUL, especially coming home. WHO IN THE WORLD MADE IT LEGAL FOR CHICKEN TRUCKS AND DUALLIES WITH TRAILERS TO DRIVE 10 BELOW THE LIMIT ON WINDING COUNTRY ROADS?!?!?! WHY ARE THE PASSING ZONES SO SHORT??? WHY IS THERE ALWAYS ONCOMING TRAFFIC WHEN I FINALLY REACH A PASSING ZONE??? MY E46 CAN’T TAKE IT ANY LONGER!
*1 or 2 days a month I get light traffic and can really “enjoy” the country roads
*$269.70/mo @ $4/gal for premium gas
In your opinion, which one of these routes is “best” for the car? More highway miles or fewer mixed miles? I am the 2nd owner and the car has been paid of since mid-2010. I’m not counting depreciation cost because I love this car and plan on keeping it until at least 200k. I do my own fluid changes on a regular basis. Outside of that, E46 maintenance seems like a wildcard. In the next 100k I could chew through any number of the following: window regulators, fuel pumps, oil separator, expansion tank, suspension bushings, drivetrain bushings, etc.
Oh my! Lay off the ALL CAPS and ranting about other drivers: the B&B is gonna pigeonhole you as a stereotypical BMW owner who thinks their poop doesn’t stink! While I enjoy stereotypes as much as anyone else (par for the course when your name’s as “challenging” as mine), sometimes it’s important to avoid adding fuel to the fire.
But for the record, my poop smells like a meadow full of flowers, as I am a Ford Ranger driver, Fox Body owner and Panther Love master. Go ahead and stereotype THAT, my friends! But I digress…
Route 1 is better for the car, and possibly for your somewhat angry demeanor. Both you and the car will live longer with this choice. But then again…who cares? Route 2 sounds fun, takes full advantage of BMW ownership, and probably won’t matter to the car’s well being…unless you plan on keeping it for the rest of your life.
Even if this is a keeper Till Death Do Us Part, well, who cares. Life is too damn short to not enjoy the highs and lows of putting a performance car through its paces. If you had a more casual machine, I’d opt for Route #1 and an aftermarket stereo with great sound quality.
Send your queries to email@example.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.
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