Letting Your Engine Idle and Why It's Bad

in Car

How often do you allow your engine idle while you are in the car? Most people will let their engines idle or "run" due to cold weather or due to the fact that they are listening to the radio. However, letting your engine idle is not good for your car or for the environment.

When you let your engine run, you are wasting gas. A few years ago, a couple of friends and I were sitting in my car on a cold night and I had the engine running so that we wouldn't be sitting there freezing. The weather was cold, and by allowing my engine to run while I was in the parked position, I was still able to run the heat in my car (which was the whole point because this was during the winter time). Suddenly, I remember one of my friends telling me that I shouldn't really run my car like that because it was "bad for my car."

There are many people who speculate that allowing your engine to idle is bad for your car, though it is up in the air for debate. When your car is idle, it is going 0 mpg. You aren't moving; you are simply burning fuel. When you are sitting at idle for long periods of time, it can actually do bad things for your car. Keep in mind that vehicles were designed to move, not to just sit and run. Often you might hear people say that turning off you car at idle won't actually save any gas. But with fuel injection technology, if you are going to have your car idling for more than 10 seconds, you will save fuel by turning it off. Depending on where you live, you might notice that someone is stopped at a light and their car is apparently inoperable. However, just before the light turns green, you'll suddenly hear them turning the ignition to put the car into 'drive' again. Again, this is not recommended if you live in a high-traffic area such as New York or Atlanta.

When I was in the police department, during the summer when we were out on long calls- often we would leave the engines running in the event that we needed to get out to get to another call in a hurry. When this was the case, sometimes we would prop open the hoods on our police cruisers. We would do this because when you leave your car running, the engine is running. As a result of the engine running in hot weather, it is extremely easy for the engine to overheat. Therefore, when you open the hood up, it allows more air to get in so that the engine stays a little cooler. Again, this is not recommended for regular people. If you know that you are going to be somewhere for longer than 10 minutes, then it is best to turn off your engine. If you leave your car running, your engine will eventually overheat and will stop running anyway!

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Brenda Williams has 1 articles online

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Letting Your Engine Idle and Why It's Bad

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This article was published on 2010/03/30