As the temperatures begin to fall, it becomes common place for us to go out to our vehicle in that chilly morning air and start it. We do this to get our vehicle warming up and ready for us to drive off to work. What wrong with that? Well, like you, I thought there was nothing wrong with doing that. In fact, I figured it helped get my engine good and warmed up ready for a drive. That is just not the case.
As we enter in to the winter months, make sure you take care of that brand new car or truck. To help you do that, take a look at some of the common myths about idling your new vehicle.
You should let your vehicle idle to warm up the engine before driving. WRONG! Years ago, this used to be true, but with the advancements in today’s engines, this is just not the case. ONLY in EXTREME cold weather would you want to idle your vehicle for a bit to warm up the motor, but even then you would only want to let it idle for about 30 seconds.
Idling your vehicle is easy on it and will even do good for it. Wrong! In fact, the complete opposite is true. Idling your vehicle in excess can actually damage components inside your motor. Your spark plugs, cylinders, and exhaust system can all be damaged because at idle, the engine is only partially combusting the fuel, which creates a build-up with in the motor. When the vehicle is being driven, the motor is being utilized at optimal performance and clearing the motor of any excess build-up, basically allowing the motor to breath and operate normally.
Idling your vehicle for a bit used less fuel than turning off the motor and then turning it back on. WRONG again! According to the Consumer Energy Center, idling your vehicle for two minutes is equal to driving it for 1 mile in terms of gasoline. If you allow your vehicle to idle for longer than 10 seconds, you have already used more fuel then it would take to turn your vehicle off and then back on.
In summary, in order to maintain your vehicle, make sure that you limit the amount of time that you are idling your vehicle. Because of today fuel injectors which eliminates carburetors and chokes, the only reason to warm your car up at all is to get the oil circulating, and after 30 seconds it is good to go. Your vehicle in its idle state is running in a very inefficiant and gasoline rich state. In fact, idling your vehicle to warm up the cab is actually very inefficiant, your vehicle will become warmer faster simply by driving it. Over time, idline the vehicle can cause damage by allowing carbon residue to build up in the engine reducing power and eventually decreasing overall performance and efficiency. Obviously there are times when you can’t help it – such as being stuck in traffic and such – but if you can help it, try to limit it as much as possible. If you are shocked about all of this, don’t worry about it. I was too!
By Brad Troedel