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Car Idling

5 reasons to stop idling your vehicle

One of the worst habits we do as drivers is idle for extended periods of time.  You may not realize it, but idling can lead to a number of negative consequences, including problems with the environment, your vehicle’s useful life, and your overall health.

Read ahead for five reasons why you should stop idling:

Prohibited

In Toronto, there is actually a bylaw in place that prohibits drivers from idling for longer than a minute during a sixty-minute period. Those caught can face a fine up to $500, so it could cost more than extra gas money.

Some other major Canadians cities, such as Ottawa and Vancouver, have similar restrictions in place.

It’s unhealthy

Idling fumes can lead to a number of major health concerns, as they have been linked to asthma, an overall decrease in lung function, cardiac disease, and even cancer.  Simply put, they are horrible to breathe in.

Environmental concerns

Not only do you waste gas when you idle, but you also hurt the environment. For every 10 minutes of idling, one pound of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

It’s bad for your engine

If environmental and overall health concerns weren’t enough already, idling for extended periods can have a negative effect on your engine’s useful life.

Since your engine is not operating at its peak temperature when you idle, the fuel doesn’t combust completely, leaving residue behind that can ultimately damage your exhaust system.

Many people incorrectly believe that turning your engine off and on is worse for your vehicle than idling. While it does impact your battery’s useful life, the wear and tear it causes is very minimal and should hardly be considered a reason to idle instead.

You expose yourself to theft

If you’re one of those people who turn on their vehicle to warm it up then go back inside, you’re putting yourself at risk of having it stolen by someone passing by.  During a three-month stretch beginning last November, 25 idling vehicles were stolen in the Waterloo region alone.

Furthermore, many people believe you need to spend a few minutes warming up your vehicle during the colder months when that’s actually just a myth. Your car warms up much faster when you’re driving compared to idling. As long as there’s no frost on the mirrors/windows, you’re good to go.

10-second rule

Contrary to popular belief, turning off your engine and turning it back on does not burn more fuel than idling (if you idle for 10 seconds or more). Unless you plan to idle for just a few brief seconds, you should really turn off your engine every time you’re tempted to idle.

Conclusion

Given the high number of negative consequences related to idling, you should try to be more conscious and try to break the bad habit of idling.

 

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