If you spend a lot of time driving every day, you know how tough it is NOT to idle: sitting at red lights…in bumper to bumper traffic…you know the drill. This is unavoidable, but the truth is, too much time spent idling is bad news for your European vehicle, whether you own a Mercedes, Jaguar or BMW.
In a nutshell, idling is when your car’s engine continues to run even though your vehicle is sitting still in one place. Many people allow their cars to idle in the driveway when warming them up in the morning before work, or when they’re sitting in a school parking lot waiting to pick up their kids.
You may not think you’re doing any harm by sitting inside of an idling car, but there are many reasons why you shouldn’t do this.
Idling for too long can…
1. Waste Gas
Contrary to popular belief, your car is using gas while idling, even though you’re not stepping on the gas pedal. In fact, when idling in PARK for just two minutes, your car is using up just as much gas as it would if you were to drive one mile. This means your car burns through one gallon of gas for every hour you let it idle.
2. Burn Oil Quickly
In addition to wasting gas, you’re also wasting oil when idling. You may even find you’re having to replenish your vehicle’s oil supply more often than you would have. If you notice your Check Oil light is coming on earlier and earlier, and you know you have a tendency to idle a lot, you may want to rethink that habit.
3. Produce More Harmful Emissions
While today’s cars are much greener than they used to be, many of them on the road still produce some harmful emissions. When letting your car idle, these emissions are escaping into the atmosphere and causing air pollution. Reduce the amount of harmful emissions your vehicle produces by cutting back on how often your car is allowed to idle.
4. Strain Your Battery
Your car’s battery is responsible for giving your car power when driving, but there are many other parts in your car that work diligently to keep your battery charged. Constant idling fails to give your battery a chance to recharge, which puts undue strain on it, which means it will wear out faster than it should.
5. Reduce Performance
Allowing your car to idle for long periods of time puts a lot of stress on vehicle components, such as head gaskets and spark plugs. This means they will wear down faster than they would if you did not engage in excessive idling. You don’t want to have to pay for a premature repair, do you?
It’s best overall to limit the amount of idling you do. Put your car in park if you know it will be more than a couple of minutes before you will be driving.
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