Monday Column | Namibia | NamAuto

Idle - fact or fiction?

Garwin Beukes - Too many debates have emerged between the young and old generation about letting your car idle during morning times before driving.

Well first off I want to make it clear that leaving your car to idle for long periods of time like 30 minutes is a waste of time, a waste of fuel and will be very costly if this is your daily practice. Everyone has tackled the negative effects of this, but one has to wonder why the practice was started in the first place. Here are a few things a lot of folks do not consider. When you drive your last route at night, which is for most usually between the times of 18h00 to 00h00, your car is left inactive for six hours or more and by then everything has gone down- your fuel lines and the oil in the chambers, the result of this is that the engine is not well lubricated.


NamAuto Idle
NamAuto Idle

This is why your car’s performance is weaker during morning times, especially those that need to drive or get out of their parking on an uphill. To get your fuel lines running and to build up combustion there is an easy process to follow. Firstly switch your engine on and leave it for about 10 seconds, this allows the fuel pump to push through fuel to its different lines creating circulation, then start your engine and leave it running for a minute or two so that it builds up oil pressure. An important thing to remember is to refrain from revving the vehicle in the morning. Within that short period of time your engine will have warmed up enough to prevent any sluggish behavior or your car dying on a hill.

The misconception of allowing your engine to run for excessive time frames like 30 minutes is not only bad for the ozone but takes a nasty toll on your wallet. The same however does not apply to carburetor powered motors. These engines will need a bit more time to get everything properly flowing. Another myth is that restarting your car takes a lot of petrol consumption. Research suggests that leaving your vehicle to idle for ten seconds or more consumes more petrol than switching it off and restarting.

In conclusion having your car idle in the morning is not completely a bad thing if it is done for the appropriate time. What is you opinion on this?