Why unnecessary idling damages your car

Unnecessary idling can have a negative impact over time, here’s why…

When it comes to what is good and what is bad for your car, there are tonnes of myths out there. Some drivers believe that idling a car doesn’t use a lot of fuel and that it is better than restarting it.

According to Battery Centre, idling your car from time to time isn’t harmful to your car, however, unnecessary idling can have a negative impact over time. Here’s why…

Idling in cold weather harms your engine: Before the 1980s, car engines relied on carburetors to keep the engine going. Idling was essential to warm up the carburetor before driving. Today’s cars use electronic fuel injection systems that, together with more sophisticated engines, alternators and leading start/stop battery technology, make idling unnecessary. The best and fastest way to properly warm up your car’s engine is to start driving gently for the first few minutes. 

2.      Idling wastes petrol: A common myth is that idling uses less fuel than starting your car. The truth is that 10 to 30 seconds of idling burns more fuel than restarting your car. For every two minutes you idle, you could have driven 1.5 kilometres. Save more fuel by turning off the engine whenever you’re going to stand still for more than 10 seconds. 

3.      Idling drains your battery: Your car battery powers all the electronics in your vehicle and needs to be recharged by the alternator. When your car is idling, the battery charges slower and takes more strain from electronics. Fortunately, Raylite batteries, exclusively available at Battery Centre, offer greater power reserves, faster recharge times and twice the lifecycle of standard car batteries. Get your battery checked for free at a Battery Centre near you to ensure you never run out of power.

4.      Idling burns up oil: The moment you start your car, engine oil gets circulated and used. Idling for long periods will therefore use more oil and you’ll need to refill your oil more often.

5.      Idling causes engine damage: While idling, the fuel in your car is only partially burned. Long periods of idling can produce a build-up of fuel residue and cause engine damage. Keep in mind that fuel is also an excellent thinner and cleaner, which means it can also wash away oil that keeps the engine components lubricated.

There are more than 12 million registered vehicles in South Africa, and if everyone cut down on unnecessary idling, we would significantly reduce pollution. Idling is history, the future of driving is start/stop.