Southtowne begs to ask the question: To Idle, or Not to Idle?

There’s been a long standing debate revolving around idling your vehicle. Does shutting off the engine use more gas than idling? I’ve heard the argument from both sides¬† so I decided it was time to really do some research. According to the Consumer Energy Center, two minutes of idling your engine equals driving one mile in terms of gasoline. Once you go past 10 seconds of idling, you’re using more fuel than it takes to start your engine.¬† So in short, the answer to this popular question is NO. It takes more gasoline to idle your vehicle than it does to shut it off and restart.

While we’re on the subject, let’s address a couple more popular myths associated with idling. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at findings:

You need to warm up your engine before driving. This used to be true decades ago, but with today’s modern engines it’s simply not necessary. In my opinion, the only time it’s ever OK to idle your engine before driving is in extremely cold weather. Even then, all you need is 30 seconds.

Idling is good for your engine. Wrong. Idling in excessive amounts is actually damaging to your engine components including your cylinders, spark plugs and exhaust systems. When you’re idling, fuel is only partially combusted because the engine is not operating at it’s peak temperature. This can lead to a build up of fuel residue on cylinder walls which can inevitably increase your fuel consumption.

Rule of thumb: If you’re going to be parked for longer than 10 seconds somewhere, go ahead and shut off your engine and save yourself some gasoline and future engine problems. Of course, if you insist on adding unnecessary wear on your engine we have a service bay open for you at The Southtowne General Motors Superstore.

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