Is it okay to idle?
At K&M Automotive in Baton Rouge, LA, one of our primary objectives is to keep you informed on how to best care for your vehicle. With temperatures dropping this time of year, a question often comes to mind; is it ok to idle my car for extended periods of time?
You may be the type to idle your car in the morning before work, so it’s warm when you get in - or keep it running while you wait in line or run in a store, so it stays nice and comfortable inside. You’ve likely heard mixed opinions on whether or not idling is bad for your car, truck, or SUV - but what’s the truth?
While the temptation is certainly understandable, in short, idling for more than just a few minutes isn’t good for your car. Besides the effect it has on your fuel economy, there are a variety of reasons not to let your car run indefinitely.
For one, your engine isn’t running in its most efficient state while idling. Excessive fuel accumulates, which causes carbon buildup, and cylinder washing - meaning that unburnt fuel ends up in your oil, causing unnecessary wear and depleting oil life. Furthermore, at low idle speeds your engine doesn’t lubricate as well as it does even slightly above idle. Poor oil circulation can be disastrous for an engine, or at the very least will cause it to wear out faster.
Idling is also equivalent to putting miles on your car. Just because the odometer isn’t racking up miles, doesn’t mean your engine isn’t feeling the wear and tear, and in many ways, it’s actually being harmed more than it would be at a steady cruising speed. Idling also causes unnecessary stress on components like electronic cooling fans.
Overall, it’s best to avoid idling for much longer than a few minutes if possible. For more vehicle knowledge, and assistance with all your repair and maintenance needs, our technicians have you covered. For the best auto service shop in Baton Rouge, LA, call or stop by K&M Automotive today.
Thank you for visiting K&M Automotive in Baton Rouge, LA. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.