Let’s face it, we’ve all asked ourselves - how long can my car idle? It’s no surprise as many Americans prefer to turn on their engines ahead of time and let it idle so they can hop into a cozy car. Some of us might have also heard that it’s good for our car. By letting it stay idle, you’re just wasting gasoline and polluting your neighbourhood.
The simple answer to the question - how long can a car idle is - indefinitely. A number of people believe that idling is a better option as restarting it is bad for the engine or leaving the car running uses less fuel. Many of them believe that idling is an effective way to warm up a vehicle as well. However, the fact is vehicle emissions as a result of idling are a major contributor to air pollution and idling produces more pollution per minute when compared to driving. In fact, studies have linked various types of vehicle emissions to cardiopulmonary diseases and other breathing ailments. If that’s not enough, idling strips oil from the cylinder and piston of your vehicle that are critical components that help your engine run.
How does idling affect your vehicle engine?
Leaving your vehicle idle consumes gas. In fact, if you let your car idle for two minutes it is equivalent to driving a mile. Longer idling also leads to motor oil being circulated and burned up. This adds to your oil change expenses. Constant idling can lead to your spark plugs, head gasket and cylinder rings to deteriorate and eventually stop working too. As opposed to popular belief, idling does not allow your battery to charge but causes it to strain. If you choose to keep your car idling in a confined space, you could be exposing yourself to toxic results.
What are your options?
We’ve rounded up a list of reasons why people choose to let their car idle. Are you waiting to pick your kids up from school? Are you going through the drive-thru and need to leave your car idle? Here are some options for you. Instead of waiting in your car, turn it off and head outside to wait for your kids or pick up the stuff you need at a store. If you can’t go inside, turn off your car, roll down your window and enjoy the breeze or the view or both!
Curious about idling laws where you live? Want to get involved and possibly help reduce carbon emissions produced by idlers? Each state and sometimes even counties and cities have different laws on the books pertaining to idling and infractions for not following the law. Check out the laws in your area to be sure you are being compliant when driving your car in order to work at reducing carbon emissions.
Contained in the links below are state incentives, laws, reguations, rebates, grants, zero emissions financing and more depending on where you live.
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