Does idling for too long damage the engine?

engines

#1

I recently bought a 2001 BMW 330 CIC and the seller told me that, since it is a German car, when I start it up I must let it run for a few minutes to ‘cycle thru the engine electronics,’ as opposed to just starting it, moving it, and shutting it off. Well, I did this, BUT FORGOT IT WAS RUNNING AND LET IT IDLE IN MY GARAGE FOR ~2 HOURS!!! Questions: 1) what is the liklihood that I have damaged the engine? and 2) is this advice about not starting and immediately shutting off the engine true? Please tell me I’m not a complete dope! (but tell me the truth anyway …) BTW, the car ran fine on the way to work today.


#2

IMHO - You did less harm than jumping in and out of your car for 2 hrs doing errands.


#3

right, but in the garage I had to rely on the fan to cool the engine, and hope pumps were working for fluids :-0. I still wonder about the requirement of letting the engine control unit cycle for a few minutes … I mean, what happens if it doesn’t?


#4

You wasted some fuel, but that’s all. Assuming the cooling system works correctly, you could let the car idle until it runs out of fuel and not hurt the engine. I think the seller gave you a bunch of bunk. Start the engine when you need to use the car or move it, and turn the engine off when you are finished.


#5

The engine control unit cycles in micro-seconds, not minutes. The oil, fuel, and coolant pumps run whenever the engine is on, and the cooling fan will cycle on and off as necessary.

The only danger here is from the accumulate exhaust fumes with the car in the garage. If the garage is attached to the house the potential for disaster is HUGE.

Don’t worry about this, just don’t do it again.


#6

thanks for the info - i’ll sleep better tonight! :slight_smile:


#7

I recently bought a 2001 BMW 330 CIC and the seller told me that, since it is a German car, when I start it up I must let it run for a few minutes to ‘cycle thru the engine electronics,’ as opposed to just starting it, moving it, and shutting it off.

Well that is BS. As for damage, it is mostly the cost of the fuel. I don’t recommend making a habit of it, but I would not worry about it.


#8

As long as the catalytic converter is working properly, there shouldn’t be too much danger. Not as much as the old days anyway.


#9

Police cars and taxi cabs run their engines almost 24 hours a day, including a ton of idling, and the cars are still fine. Idling won’t hurt anything, it’ll just use up a bit of gas.


#10

Prolonged idling did no damage.

Hereafter let the electronics cycle on startup, as suggested, but realize that the cycle is complete in about 10 seconds. As soon as the last warning light in the instrument cluster winks out you are good to go.

This is sound advice for any car. There is nothing unique about German cars in this regard.


#11

Man I knew parked at the dormitory for a minute with his new 74 buick electra with the engine running and forgot it until he went home seven hours later. Good party. He never had a problem. Does the owner’s manual give goofy instructions too?