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Anti-idling myth busting

Idling gets you nowhere. Here we clear up some common misconceptions about engine idling. 

Remember, as well as wasting fuel (and money), unnecessary engine idling means harmful vehicle pollution is released into the atmosphere, which is bad for the environment and our health.

My engine needs to stay on to keep the battery fully charged.

Fact: Modern battery design has largely eliminated this threat.

Turning the engine on and off wears it out.

Fact: Electronic ignitions in modern cars have eliminated this problem. Idling increases wear and tear.

Catalytic converters need to be hot to work properly.

True, but an idling engine does not keep a catalytic converter warm. They retain their heat for about 25 minutes after an engine is switched off anyway.

Idling keeps an engine in better condition.

Fact: Idling means incomplete combustion, leading to a build-up of residue in an engine, increasing wear and tear.

Starting an engine uses more fuel and produces more pollution than idling.

Fact: Idling for more than ten seconds wastes more of your fuel (and causes more pollution) than stopping and restarting your engine does. This is one of the reasons why newer vehicles are fitted with stop-start technology.

The best way to warm up your vehicle is to leave the engine running for a few minutes.

Fact: Modern engines are designed so that you can commence driving straight after starting the car.

Idling reduces wear and tear on your engine particularly when cold.

Fact: Idling creates wear and tear on your engine because fuel does not combust completely, causing damage to engine components such as cylinders, piston rings and the exhaust system.

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