Coast to Coast Motors Official Blog

How long is too long to let my vehicle idle?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQ, Q&A, Tips and Tricks on Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 at 2:40 PM
Many vehicles on traffic

Is it bad to leave your car running while parked?

Sometimes, you arrive somewhere, and you will only be there for a quick minute or two. In this case, is it bad to leave your car running while parked? This is actually quite a complex question that we are about to jump into! The short answer is no, it would not be bad to leave your car running while parked. But, it also depends on how long your car will be running! Keep reading to learn more!

How long should I let my car idle before I leave?

Generic Engine

Many years ago, it was a good idea to start an engine and let it idle and run for a few minutes before putting it into gear and heading off to your destination. Now, engines are much more efficient. If you let your engine run for about thirty seconds to a minute, you should be good to go.

Additionally, if you are going to let your vehicle run for longer, there are a couple of other things to consider. If you leave your vehicle run longer than it needs to, it is releasing more pollution into the air for us to breathe. Also, over the years different systems have improved. As a result, turning the engine off and on does not cause additional wear and tear on the starter, battery, or waste gas.

Are there times that I should avoid letting my vehicle idle?

Person Opening Gas Cap on side of vehicle

There is really only one specific time that you need to turn your vehicle off and not let it idle. It is when you are refueling your vehicle. The fumes that the gas pump produces can easily be ignited and end in disaster.

Where can I learn more about letting my vehicle run while it is parked?

In conclusion, if you are running into a store and are going to be super quick, you could leave your vehicle running while parked. However, if you are going to be spending a good amount of time inside, you should consider turning your vehicle off.

If you would like to learn more about letting your vehicle idle, please stop out and see us at Coast to Coast Motors! Our friendly team members would be happy to answer your questions about an idling vehicle!

Read More: What is the difference between smart key and keyless entry?

What Happens If You Leave Your Car Running for a Long Time?

There are several good reasons not to leave your car idling for an extended period until it’s really necessary. It’s not that idling is particularly harmful, but it does have some effects most car owners would rather avoid. For example, the longer your car is running the more gas you waste. Idling for two minutes uses as much gas as driving for a mile! It also burns oil which creates a need for more frequent oil changes if you idle often.

Letting your car idle for an extended time also drains the battery and puts extra wear on spark plugs, and other parts. In addition to all of that, it’s bad for the environment.

Can I Leave My Car Running While Sleeping?

Truckers have done this very thing for decades, and so have most people who have roadtripped across the country. While it is generally safe to leave your car running while sleeping, there is a chance that carbon monoxide could enter the vehicle, and that can be deadly. To reduce the chances of this, never leave your car running in an enclosed space and have regular inspections performed on your exhaust system.

A better solution is to go ahead and take your nap with the engine off. Of course, this is only feasible if the weather is mild. You can also run the motor periodically to cool down or heat up your car and then turn it back off. If you know you may want to sleep in the car with the engine running, consider purchasing a small carbon monoxide detector to keep in the vehicle.