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Thread: Winter Tip: Car Idling Myths vs Reality

  
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    Post Winter Tip: Car Idling Myths vs Reality

    Idling: Myths Versus Reality

    Ask Canadian motorists why they idle their vehicles, and you'll likely get a simple answer: to warm up the engine before they drive away. It's one of the most commonly held myths in Canada about driving. And it costs you money, wears out your vehicle's engine and generates unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

    Contrary to popular belief, idling isn't an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to warm it up is to drive it. In fact, with today's engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before you start to drive.

    The notion that idling is good for your vehicle is passé – in fact, it hasn't been the right thing to do since the advent of electronic engines. The truth is that excessive idling can damage the engine.

    The reason? An idling engine isn't operating at its peak temperature, which means that fuel doesn't undergo complete combustion. This leaves fuel residues that can condense on cylinder walls, where they can contaminate oil and damage parts of the engine. For example, fuel residues are often deposited on spark plugs. As you spend more time idling, the average temperature of the spark plug drops. This makes the plug get dirty more quickly, which can increase fuel consumption by 4 to 5 percent. Excessive idling also lets water condense in the vehicle's exhaust. This can lead to corrosion and reduce the life of the exhaust system.

    Besides, what's often forgotten is that idling warms only the engine – not the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission and tires. These parts also need to be warmed up, and the only way to do that is to drive the vehicle.

    Perhaps you're concerned that continually shutting off and restarting the vehicle is hard on the engine. But studies show that frequent restarting has little impact on engine parts such as the battery and starter motor. The wear on components that restarting the engine causes adds about $10 a year to the cost of driving – money that you'll likely recover several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling.

    So, when should you turn off the engine? Believe it or not, more than 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine. As a rule of thumb, if you're going to stop for 10 seconds or more – except in traffic – turn the engine off. You'll save money. And your vehicle won't produce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

    Although different country, same priciples apply..certainly food for thought....

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    i leave the car for 2 mins when its cold then drive it nice an easy for 5 mins
    in work the Van is started then driven out doing a wheel spin as soon as its turned on

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    my car drives better if I idle it.

    so I will continue doing it.

    Drives:Mazda 6 MPS- Zoom Zoom

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    So thats 2 of you so far damaging your engines needlessly

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    I never idle it, just jump in and drive, but dont really go above 3000 rpm before the engine is up to temp.

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    What about turbo engines?. I heard it can harm the turbo just driving straight off.
    Arden Blue GSi

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    I can see what there saying but the way the statement is phrased lends itself to a very 'green' way of thinking. Personally I'd much prefer to hear that statement backed up by an indipendant study.

    Until then I'll carry on letting my car engine warm up slowly before I go out driving. Its also nice because the heaters get warm too especially important in winter time to me. I still keep below 3000 revs until I consider my box (ooooer) to have warmed up / stop being so clunky and clutch being so jerky.

    jam
    Its a jam thing

    Haec credam a deo pio, a deo justo, a deo scito?



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    I've lost count of the times I've posted on here that letting the car idle when cold is one of the worst things you can do.

    Glad you found some supporting gen Coo

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    To put it into perspective, i agree 100% with the above, but if you start your turbo car and bounce it off the limiter straight away, Mr Turbo will say goodbye from Mr Engine, and you will be left with Muchos $$$$$ for repair lol

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    to be honest when its proper cold (possibly this coming weekend according to the weather) it takes slightly longer to restart. if the car struggles then i drive as soon as the the engine kicks in. i figured it is less likely to stop when the revs are higher than idle.

    in my old mk3 if it was really cold i would get the engine going and set off, the engine would then stop. i think that must have been the automatic choke, spark plugs or ht leads.
    "I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them."



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