Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

5 Essential Things to Know About Idling

idling car

Everyone does it, whether waiting for the kids to get out of school or someone running into the store for an item or two. The problem is, idling, which occurs when you sit with your vehicle running but not moving, has a serious impact on the environment and your wallet. Here are five things you need to know about idling.

Old Myths Die Hard

While it was once true that starting the engine required more gas than idling, modern engines have eradicated that myth. They don’t use nearly as much fuel when starting as their old counterparts, which means that idling now uses up more of the fuel supply.

Increased Wear and Tear

Idling causes residues from fuel to build up on the engine components, which can cause damage. In many cases, this can require spark plug replacement, and can even lead to the exhaust system corroding, which will require additional repairs.

Increased Fuel Consumption

As mentioned, idling uses more gas than simply restarting the engine. However, when considering that even 10 seconds of idling a few times per day can result in several dollars’ worth of fuel each week, over a year’s time that can become hundreds of dollars. In some cases, as with 8-cylinder engines, each 10 minutes that the engine idles uses up .11 gallons. If the car idles for 10 minutes every day of the year, that results in as much as 40.15 gallons of fuel wasted in that time.

Impacts Health

When drivers sit in a running vehicle in an effort to warm it up before driving, they are actually breathing in the emissions from the exhaust that build up in the cabin, including CO2, which can cause serious health concerns if enough is breathed in over time. By driving without overly revving the engine, drivers can warm up the vehicle more quickly and reduce the impact on their health.

Increased Emissions

Engine exhaust contains many pollutants that are released into the air through a vehicle’s tailpipe. When a vehicle is left idling, the amount of pollution and greenhouse gases released through those emissions increases over the amount that is released when driving. The pollutants in these emissions are linked to a variety of health concerns and greenhouse gases are known to contribute to climate change.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...


Related questions

Q: Car sputters and runs rough upon acceleration. 1995 BMW 318i

Hello. Thanks for writing in about your 1995 BMW 318i. This problem is usually caused by worn out spark plugs and spark plug wires. When the spark plugs are worn out they don’t fire as well during acceleration. If the...

Q: How do I access the average fuel economy feature?

The average fuel economy feature tells you the average MPG that your vehicle has achieved since the last time the system was reset. To view the average fuel economy, press the Trip button on the steering wheel until the feature...

Q: On cold start up it idles up to 2800 after a few min i tap the gas and it drops to normal 800 -1000 rpm idle speed

The fast idle speed on your vehicle should be 2100 rpm. The carburetor on your truck has a choke system that will increase the idle when it's cold, to help get the truck up to operating temperature a little more...