Is Revving Your Car Bad – What Is The Possible Damage?

by Conner Mckay

Do you often rev your engine in the morning and you are asking yourself is revving your car bad? If this is the situation that you are into and you want to inform yourself on this topic, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic.

Revving your car’s engine is something that you probably don’t have to do but it is so fun. There is nothing better than a loud exhaust that puts a smile on your face. If you are one of those guys then I really understand you because I’m in the same situation and I often want to rev my car for no particular reason.

My neighbors probably hate me, but hey, who cares. That is one of the perks of being a car guy. Revving our engines is one of the things we want to do. We know that this is not a pleasing sound for many people out there. But it is for us and we will keep doing it. But have you asked sometimes if revving your car is bad for your engine? Well, in this article, we are going to cover precisely that.

First, we are going to learn why people want to rev their engines. Then we will learn what is the rev limit and if is revving your car bad? After we are going to discuss the possible damage that you could do to your car whenever you decide to rev your engine and the trick manufacturers do in order to prevent us from doing this. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Why Do People Want To Rev Their Engines?

People just loved to rev their engines since the early inception of the internal combustion engine. I think there is something connected with our psychology. The sound is feeding us with that happy feeling. As would people say, a good revving engine will put that smile on your face.

And this is actually quite true. Since revving the engine is something like telling who is the loudest and the most powerful out there. So people will know. This probably is something left from our evolution. But it is what it is, we love to rev our engines. It makes us happy and satisfied while we do so.

Even though, this is not perceived with the approval from other people since the sounds are not that pleasant for everybody. And I quite understand them, to be honest.

So, whenever you decide to rev your engine make sure that you are far away from other people. Especially avoid revving the car early in the morning. But this can be a rather difficult task for many. Especially people who have V8s and that V8 rumble is the first thing that they want to hear in the morning.

If you have a V8 and you cold start it, then you would probably alert the whole neighborhood. Car guys might have respect for you but most of the neighbors will probably hate you. I’m telling you this from experience. That’s why I had to downsize a little bit. But have you asked yourself is revving your car bad? Well, we are going to learn that, first let’s discuss what is a rev limiter.

What Is The Engine Rev Limit?

Before we learn is revving your car bad. Let’s first take a look at what is a rev limiter since everything is beginning here.

A rev-limiter is a device that is installed on your engine. This device has a role to protect the engine from itself. Yes, that’s right, the rev limiter is protecting the engine from itself. Since the engine basically doesn’t have a limit, it will push as much as you can if the rev limiter doesn’t kick in, and this revving can take the engine into the scrapyard if there were no rev limiters installed on cars.

So, how do these rev limiters work? Well, it is quite simple, the rev limiter is limiting some of the components that are inside of the engine. There are basically two types of rev limiters. Ones that limit the fuel and ones that limit the spark.

The most common rev limiters that you will see out there are limiting the fuel delivery. Whenever the engine hits the limiter the fuel simply shuts off and returns to 800 rpm which is the base rpm of many engines.

There are some other rev limiters that also are cutting off the spark plugs as well. But these are less common because the unburnt fuel escapes into the exhaust and can kill the catalytic converter. You don’t want the fuel to burn inside the exhaust system.

As you know, every engine has a rev limit. This rev limit is given by the factory Meaning that if you go above this rev limit the engine could suffer damage. So, is revving your car bad? Let’s elaborate in the following article where we will learn if is revving your car bad in detail.

Is Revving Your Car Bad?

The answer to this question is that it depends on the engine and also on other factors that are attributing to whether it will be bad or possibly not. But how come? Let’s elaborate.

The main reason why I’m saying this is because some of the engines are rev-happy, while some are not. Some engines simply love to work at low RPM where they feel alright and safe.

If you try to push these engines and rev them above 3,000 RPM, you are risking engine damage to happen. These are often chain-driven engines that have smaller displacements. If you rev an engine like this quite often, sooner or later will start to have blowby and you will say bye-bye to it.

Also, pushrod V8 engines do not love to be revved up to their limit at 6,500. Even though there are a ton of high-performance pushrod engines. For your average engine, is not recommended to rev it up to 6,500 RPM. This could be quite damaging to the internals of the engine.

On the other hand, there are engines that are happy when you rev them. Like Honda engines, or perhaps even BMWs. They just purr when they hit 8,000 RPM. And you can basically make a conclusion as to what engine is susceptible to revving. These are most often high compression ratio engines that have a high rev limiter. 8,000 RPM or even 8,500 RPM in some of the cases.

So, is revving your car bad? Yes, it is. It doesn’t matter how powerful your engine is and how much horsepower it makes, revving it nonstop will do no good to the engine and will speed up the wear and tear of the internal components which will make it lose compression.

When Is Revving Your Car Safe?

And even high-performance engines that are somewhat considered to be safe to rev. It is worth noting that you could not rev them until some terms are met.

On some performance cars like the BMW M3, you are going to see how there are some orange bars before the rev limiter whenever you decide to start the car.

This indicates that the engine is cold. So, it cannot go above this limit that you are seeing on the cluster. Soon as the limit starts to wane, you can start pushing the car and make it reach the maximum RPM.

Most of the cars do not have these devices installed on them. So, in most situations is up to you and your feel of how much do you want to push the car.

What is important to note is that it doesn’t matter how powerful the engine is and to what RPM is rated, you should never rev the engine when it’s cold.

Imagine something that is cold and you run tremendous heat in it. This will result in temperature fluctuation that could be damaging for the engine block and will for sure cause some cracking to develop, scrapping your whole engine.

So, be patient and let the car run for a few minutes. Many people are doing this mistake when they start their car early in the morning and they are revving it to warm up. This is not a good practice. Don’t rev the car when it’s cold. Start it and let it do its job. It is often advised to leave it as is for a few minutes for the engine to warm up and the RPM to drop and then drive the car. This is the best practice.

What Kind Of Damage Can Occur By Revving Your Car?

So, we learned the answer to the question is revving your car bad? And we concluded that going above a certain RPM can be damaging for the engine and its internal components since you heating it up so fast and this has a damaging effect on the block.

Is Revving Your Car Bad

As well as running the engine at extreme RPM might cause some damage. But what kind of damage can be really caused to the engine? In the following chapters, we are going to cover all the possible scenarios of how you can damage your engine by revving it. So, let’s get into it.

1. Engine Block Damage Because Of Revving Your Cold Engine

If your engine is cold and you decide to rev it hard then you can expect some damage to happen in the internals of the engine. This is the case because you are working with metal.

The metal expands and contracts from the heat. And if you don’t allow the car to get up to temp and you decide on thrashing it, it might result in damage to the engine block itself.

Because whenever you start the engine, the oil is sitting low in the engine. Meaning that the oil needs time to get up to temperature and travel. Whenever you start the engine, the oil is cold and thick, then you start to rev the engine and the oil doesn’t even have the time to reach every hole possible and lubricate the components.

Resulting in possible scarring to the cylinder walls and also some heat-related problems that could damage the block and make it crack. As you know metal doesn’t like too much heat to be thrown at it at once. The same is when it’s cold.

So, when there are a lot of heat cycles like this, could cause the metal to lose some of its characteristics and become brittle and cause cracks to develop. Especially if the block is made out of aluminum. A metal that is very fragile and it greatly reacts to many different environmental factors.

So, is revving your car bad? If the engine is cold, then for sure, you are risking engine damage happening at any given time. That’s why don’t do it. Now let’s move on to the next probability.

2. You Can Spin A Rod Bearing While Revving Cold Engine

The engine can fail in a number of ways whenever someone is throwing a lot of pressure on it and is not prepared. And the spinning wheel bearing is one of these ways. The bearing could spin and cause the engine to fail when you are revving it while cold.

So, how does this happen? This happens whenever you decide to rev the engine while it’s cold. There should be oil between the bearing and the crankshaft. So, when the crankshaft spins it is properly lubricated and doesn’t rub the bearing.

And what happens here is that whenever you trash the engine while it’s cold. The oil doesn’t have time to lubricate the bearings. Causing the bearing to stick to the crankshaft and spin in the process. And this is something that you don’t want because there could be some damage to the crankshaft itself and a new crankshaft will cost you a ton of money to get.

Even used ones will cost you more than a grand. So, is revving your car bad when it’s cold. Absolutely, never do this practice. If this happens also depends on the engine itself, since some engines are more susceptible when it comes to spinning a rod bearing. But don’t take your chances with this because it is an expensive fix.

3. You Can Damage The Turbo If You Are Revving Your Cold Engine

If you are running a turbocharged car you can also damage your turbine as well. The turbine needs oil and if there is no oil inside of the turbo to cool the turbine off, you can end up damaging it permanently.

But how can this damage happen by revving your car? It is quite simple to explain. When the engine starts, the oil is quite thick. But as soon as the car warms up, this cold oil is getting thinner and thinner.

When the oil reaches the operating temperature is thinnest and only, in this case, it can manage to lubricate all of the components really well. Meaning that if you rev your turbocharged engine, the turbine will see the biggest impact since it is a component that is separate from the engine and the pressure needs some time to buildup to lubricate it well.

So, getting it up to boost might be bad for your turbo and cause it to fail. That’s why you should never do this and never rev your engine while it’s cold. So, is revving your car bad? Yes, it is if you are pushing the car while the engine is cold.

4. You Can Throw A Rod Outside Of The Block

So, we learned if is revving your car bad if the engine is cold. Now let’s discuss if is revving your car bad when the engine is hot. And the answer is still yes if you go up to the rev limiter.

The most probable reason for catastrophic engine failure is when a rod ends up on the side of the block. All this is because the engine was pushed to the absolute maximum.

So, if someone tells you that it simply decided to destroy itself while they were operating it at 2000 RPM, they are probably lying at you.

Running the engine to the absolute limit is not good. So, you need to avoid it. Even high-performance engines fail catastrophically. And you could imagine what will happen if you push your V8 Mustang to 6,000 RPM every day.

Don’t do it if you don’t want to replace the engine and pay thousands of dollars for it. So, is revving your car bad while it’s hot? Yes, it is. There are also some other points of failure that are also present and we are going to cover them next.

5. You Can Blow A Head Gasket By Revving Your Car

Another thing that could happen if you push your engine to the limit and decide to rev it quite often is that the head gasket could fail. The head gasket is the component that is most prone to fail when it comes to this type of engine work.

The head gasket as you know is a gasket material that is between the block and the head of the engine. The gasket keeps the right seal and doesn’t allow coolant and oil to mix.

Whenever you push your engine to its limits, you can expect this head gasket to fail and the engine not to function properly. How you will notice this is by observing the oil and seeing how it is turning into a milky fluid. So, is revving your car bad? Yes, it is if you push it to the limit. So what are the other things that can fail on a car when you rev it? Let’s see.

6. Other Things That Can Fail If You Keep Revving The Engine On Your Car

So, is revving your car bad? Yes, it is. So, what are the other components that can also fail if you rev your engine too much for too long?

The first component would probably be the compression rings. These rings are maintaining the compression inside of your engine. Revving the engine for too long will wear these compression rings too quickly and you have an increased blowby in your engine.

Then there are the front and rear main seals. These rubber seals are keeping the oil inside of your engine and are located on both ends of the crankshaft. So, when you rev your car too much there could be leaks that can develop. And replacing one of these is really expensive since they are so hard to reach.

The oil pan gasket can also fail if you rev your engine for too long. There will be a lot of pressure buildup and if the oil pan gasket is weak, it could fail.

Then there are the valves that are also known to fail. Burnt valves are one of the primary suspects if you love to rev the engine too much. So, is revving your engine bad? Yes, it is, don’t rev the engine for too long and especially avoid revving it to the rev limiter. By doing this you will improve the engine life significantly and you will make sure that your engine doesn’t go bad.

Factory Rev Limiters

Some carmakers are installing special rev limiters on high-performance models. They are quite trendy right now. Especially on Porsches, Audis, and other German brands that want you not to ask yourself if is revving your car bad.

Is Revving Your Car Bad

You simply won’t be able to rev the engine past 3,000 while the car is stationary.

Bad Driving Habits – Facts to Extend Your Car’s Life

  1. Driving on an empty or near-empty tank can negatively affect your car’s engine, as the sediment from gasoline settles at the bottom of the tank and can damage the fuel line and engine.
  2. Revving the engine before it has time to warm up can place unnecessary stress on the engine, especially in cold weather, as the engine’s oil hasn’t had time to circulate and properly lubricate the car.
  3. Starting and stopping quickly can waste gas, put unnecessary strain on the car and its parts, and cause the brake pads to wear out faster.
  4. Accelerating too slowly can put wear on the transmission and engine, and it’s recommended to drive at the same speed as the other cars around you.
  5. Shifting into park or reverse while the car is still moving or not using the E brake before shifting into park can cause the weight of the car to rest against the transmission, which can damage it.
  6. Holding down the clutch between shifting in manual transmission vehicles can also cause damage and should be avoided.
  7. Speeding on the freeway can cause early wear on the engine’s small moving parts and transmission, and it’s recommended to drive at 40 to 60 miles per hour to avoid extra stress.
  8. Driving at the speed limit is the best way to extend the life of the car.
  9. Practicing good driving habits can save money on fuel costs and reduce the need for costly repairs and part replacements in the future.
  10. Taking care of your car by following these tips can help extend its life and keep it running smoothly.


In this article, we have learned a lot about revving engines and why people love doing this to their cars. It’s simply a lot of fun. But is revving your car bad? Well, technically it is.

Revving the engine, especially an engine that doesn’t like to be revved too much can be damaging to the internals.

Then we discussed the engine damage that can happen if you rev your engine on cold start and then we explained what failures could happen when you rev the engine while it’s hot. Either way, there are a ton of failure points that wait the time to give up and ruin your day. So, revving the engine for too long is not something you really need, and rather be safe than sorry.

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