Piston Slap: The Fallacy of Engine Hour Meters?
It appears that you have picked up where Steve Lang left off. That is answering general automotive questions that puzzle automotive enthusiast.
My question, what average speed would be good or bad for a used vehicle? I am in the market for a used truck (3-6yrs old), and have noticed that these newer trucks have mileage and hours tracked in the dash display screen. It is easy math to calculate the average speed for the life of the vehicle. What should I look for?
Or run from?
Best and brightest?
I’ve been doing this Piston Slap thing for how many years now? (Hint: longer than Lang’s written Q&A columns.) Personal affronts to my fragile ego aside, you ask a good question.
With the advent of engine hour meters on modern gauge clusters, calculating average speed is easy.
But to make a purchase decision on that figure? No, considering the plethora of gearing choices and driving conditions that induce wear independent of your calculations. And the fact these meters can be reset … more on that later.
A higher average speed implies more highway driving, which is almost universally regarded as better than city miles. Vehicles with higher average speeds spend less time on the brakes, or accelerating from a standstill, or wearing engines out with cold oil, etc.
But here’s a problem: Average speed displays can be reset. Disconnect the battery for a few hours. Or re-flash the computer for a performance tune to wipe that number clean while adding value to would-be buyers looking for more performance and/or fuel economy.
I care not for this metric. When buying a used vehicle, stick to the basics: inside/outside condition, service history, fluid age/quality and the lifespan of typical wear items like tires/brakes. If the engine hour meter and odometer also agree with your assessment, then hey, even more reason to open your wallet.
[Image: Shutterstock user Forgem]
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry … but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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