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Idle chatter

The clean air campaign website states that idling more than 10 seconds uses more gas than turning the engine off and then on again. I’d read before that 1 minute was the point at which the gas used = gas needed to start engine again. If the ten-second rule is correct, then in theory, I should be turning off my engine at every stoplight. What’s the story here? I have a 2006 Honda Civic (non-hybrid).

If you live in a big city, shutting your engine down and restarting at every stop light will cook your starter in a very short time. Not to mention the ring gear on your flywheel, ignition switch, etc.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You could get a bike.

Back in the Seventies, it was a 5 minute rule. Who knows. IMHO, the tree huggers are trying to get us to shut off our cars. Follow your conscience.

One thing IS FOR SURE. Your starter was not designed for that type of service. Its design life is 5000-10,000 cycles, about 8 years “normal” driving…

The money that you might save doing this will quickly be eaten up by the starter wearing out prematurely from constantly restarting the engine at every stoplight. Even if this didn’t roast the starter, the savings would be so infinitesimal as to not even be noticed at the pump.

Yes, gas prices are high and everyone is looking for any way possible (or even theoretical) to save a bit on gas. Unfortunately as with anything and everything, there aren’t any magical ways of doing so.

Ten seconds is probably about right, but as others have stated, this is impractical and not cost-effective in regular driving. Apply the rule when you are stopped because of construction or traffic accident, and at the drive-through window at your bank or fast food place. Of course, you are better off avoiding drive-throughs entirely.

Thanks, all. I actually ride my bicycle most of the time (I’ve driven the car only 3 miles so far this month and logged over 60 on my bike). The clean air campaign is trying to reduce idling time in the city and I was wondering if their calculations were correct.

Many cities in North America are concerned with drive-through food service and other locations. The cars in these lineups spend a great deal of time idling and often block traffic as well. Watch for a battle between MacDonald’s, etc and the upcoming no-idle municpal bylaws.

Shutting your engione off at each long traffic light is counter-productive and dangerous. Some Japanese cars in Japan have this automatic feature, since light are much longer there and gas more expensive. Agree that this freqeunt starting will wear your starter out prematurely, wiping out any “savings”.