If you sit in stop-and-go traffic, you might ask yourself whether you should turn off your car or leave it running. What about when you’re waiting for your significant other in the grocery store parking lot? Does idling affect your vehicle in a negative way? Yes, it can, so you might want to turn off your car when you’re stopped for extended periods. Let us here at MMW Repair explain further why this is the case.
Effects of Idling
Aside from being bad for the environment, which is one important consideration, idling an engine for a long time
- Wastes gasoline
- Burns oil
- Deteriorates cylinder rings
- Deteriorates the head gasket
- Deteriorates spark plugs
- Drains your battery
You might have heard at some point that idling charges your battery, but this isn’t true. Idling drains your battery, driving your vehicle charges it. Excessive idling also uses up gas. If you sit in your car at a stand-still for two minutes, you will have used up the gas it takes to drive a mile.
As your engine idles it also continues to circulate oil, which does burn it up. This is why it’s important to have frequent oil changes if your commute includes a ton of traffic. Finally, as mentioned in the bullet list, constant idling can wear down your cylinder rings, head gasket, and spark plugs. All of this spells eventual trouble for your vehicle’s engine.
You might think the above is the worst-case scenario but it isn’t. Your car releases carbon monoxide when it runs, and if you’re sitting in a confined space with the vehicle idling, you could introduce the deadly poison into the cabin. This is why it’s best to turn off your vehicle when you won’t be in motion for an extended period.
Tips to Tolerate the Wait
To keep your patience while you wait for the traffic jam to clear or your spouse to return with the ice cream you’re both craving, do a few things to enjoy the wait. If it’s a nice day, turn off the car and roll down your window. Enjoy the sunshine and breeze. Turn on your favorite tunes and sing along. Air guitar it if that’s your thing, just pay attention to when it’s time to move.
MMW Repair services vehicles in Marietta, GA. If you think excess idling has damaged your vehicle, give us a call at 770-214-4688.