Car running for 8 hours

My son came home last night about midnight. I went out this morning to drive to work and the car was still running. He had left it running for 8 hours!! What damage, if any might be done? I checked the temp and oil and all seemed normal.

No damage whatsoever, aside from the wasted fuel. Consider that police cars, taxi cabs, and the like routinely run for sometimes days at a time, and suffer no powertrain damage.

Not a problem at all. Just added wear and tear on the vehicle plus wasted gas.

I agree that the engine suffered no damage.

However, I think that you have to question the state of mind of your son if he cannot remember to shut off the engine when he parks the car. Was he extremely tired? If so, he may have been too sleepy to operate a motor vehicle. Was he under the influence of any type of substance, legal or otherwise? If so, you bear some liability if he gets into an accident while driving your vehicle.

If I were you, I would be much more concerned about the state of your son than in the state of the car’s engine, and I respectfully suggest that you keep your eyes open to possible problems.

I’ll second that.

I fully agree. I am very concerned for his state of mind while driving last night. He claims he was not drinking/smoking, etc. I have not heard the full story yet but I will when I return home. thanks.

No damage to the car, just a little gasoline wasted. You should be very happy your son did not park the car (still running) in a garage attached to your house. The carbon monoxide in the exhaust has the potential to kill in a confined space.

Only thing I might do would be to take the car out on the freeway for, say, 30 minutes to make sure the oil gets hot to remove any accumulated blowby contaminants.

“I have not heard the full story yet but I will when I return home.”

Just bear in mind that your son’s version of the facts may not conform with the reality of last night’s events. No matter what he tells you, it behooves you to keep your eyes and your ears open regarding his behaviors, his friends, the hours that he keeps, etc. Being your son’s “best friend” is not good for him in the long run, despite the fact that so many parents nowadays seem to think so.

You sound like a level-headed person, so I think that you will do what needs to be done, in the best interests of your child.

Some cars can overheat when idling in severely hot conditions. This was at night so even those cars would probably be O.K.

I’ve done this a few times in my life (mostly in my youth) No harm done. As long as the engine fans are working right and you’re not parked over anything flammable, it should be fine. I slept in my car in the dead of winter once, leaving it running for heat. In the summer once leaving the a/c on, and once left a car running for about 9 hours till I could get to the auto parts store in the morning for a new starter. All many years ago.