Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

To idle or not to idle?

I drive a 2007 Toyota Rav 4. My son’s preschool is a mile from our house. Four days a week I drive him there and (of course) pick him up. My question is, should I let the car idle while I wait in the drop off/pick up line, or should I turn the engine off for the 3-7 minutes I wait?
My concern stems from a similar situation when I was in college and driving a very short distance multiple times a day. These short drives ended up being costly when a had to have exhaust work done.
I know it is better for my wallet and the environment to shut off the engine but I’d like to avoid putting excess wear and tear on the exhaust system.

The exhaust on your other car was problematic because the engine wasn’t warming up sufficiently to dry out the condensation in the pipes and muffler.

While most exhaust systems are now stainless steel, since your son’s daycare is only 1 mile from the house I’d recommend leaving it running. That allows the engine to warm up, drives the condensation out, and will also allow the battery to recharge. Shutting the engine off and turning it on for 1 mile drives will also drain your battery.

One Mile? Walk or ride a bike with a child seat or child trailer. Much better for the health of the environment and your family.

If you must drive, “mountainbike” is correct.

My Grandson’s elementary school pick up area is designated a “no idle zone” in order to protect the children’s lungs from the exhaust fumes of multiple vehicles.

So this is really just a mute point, then. Well, for TWKarlish, anyway.

(that’s not saying I disagree with the no idle zone)

There is no such thing as a “mute point.” It is’ however, a moot point.

Whitey, Tell That To A Mime !

The whole measure of being a succussful mime hinges on getting a mute point accross to the audience.


I realized I had made that spelling mistake hours later, when I was driving home. But then, I figured, what the heck, there are more spelling mistakes on this board than people…I can live with it. I really don’t do it all that often.

Good one, CSA. :wink:

Personally I would turn the engine off. Save a little of that fuel for my great grand kids.

As long as your car gets one or more good runs getting the engine up to full temperature for some time at least once a week, you should be fine either way.

The best example of making a mute point is in Blue Man Group. I always tell people who don’t believe in the power of body language to go see Blue Man. They communicate emotion, intent, comedy, and an enormous range of things not only without ever saying a word, but without ever showing any expression whatsoever. Their show is the most powerful evidence of the power of body language that I’ve ever witnessed.

Thanks for your advice and information. I wish we could walk, however we live on a busy road without a shoulder, much less a bike path!