Never Let Your Car Idle

Never Let Your Car Idle

rev up your engines, today I’ll give you
the ultimate answer of why it’s bad to let your car idle a lot now cars are
made to drive you down the road so they’re designed to be moving to have
airflow over the engine and transmission they’re not designed to just sit there
like say the air conditioner in your house it just sits there and cools the
house now of course it’s not gonna instantly destroy your car if you sit
there for 10-15 minutes at a railroad track only especially if it’s a newer
vehicle it’s more insidious it can damage things over time the other year
in Danville Virginia they found out that they had sixteen thousand dollars of
damage to the police cars that they had to fix because they were sitting there
idling and the plastic parts were starting to melt and break realize
plastic is not that good with heat and I know that for a fact because take BMW it
makes really crappy plastic parts here in Houston where it’s hot they crack
like mad I seen where the intakes cracks everything cracks from heat and of
course if you have a vehicle that’s an older vehicle and things are starting to
go bad anyways you’re stressing the cooling system the transmission the
engine by sitting there idling for a really long time you notice if you see
police at events they’ll open the hood a little to leave vents so the heat
can escape better because when you’re driving down the road all that heat of
the engine just doesn’t sit there and build up air is blowing through the
radiator it’s blowing it back through it’s cooling it actually none of the car
if you just sit there and idle for a long length of time especially if you
have your car in drive if it’s an automatic that’s straining the
transmission it’s now engaged cuz it’s in Drive that starts to get hot and
guess how the transmission gets cool now the transmission down here is somewhat
cooled by air going over it as you’re moving but mainly there’s cooler lines
and where do they go they go to the bottom of the radiator and there’s a
chamber in the bottom of the radiator that’s the transmission cooler
transmission fluid goes through it and it uses the radiator to cool it down now
you might think hey the radiator gets hot well transmission fluid gets
a lot hotter than the radiator fluid that has fans blowing air so that helps
to cool it and if you’re just sitting there with your car and drive stop for
15 minutes or something like that all that heats gonna build up more it’s
gonna strain your cooling system so if you do have to idle put it in neutral
because if you put it in neutral then the transmission isn’t then driving
engaged and it builds up much less heat that way make sure your cooling fans are
working correctly start the car and turn the a/c on full
blast there got a cooling fan make sure that’s fitting that what’s being into
that one space because let’s say one fan is working in one is it’s gonna make it
overeat over time especially when it’s idling and recently I read in
Minneapolis they made a law that they can’t even make anymore drive-through
businesses can’t build any new ones restaurants thanks whatever they’re not
allowing any new drive-ins to be made because they did a study and found out
how long people are letting these things idle and how much fuel was being wasted
and here’s being polluted most people want their cars to be around a long time
so it isn’t a good idea to let them sit and idle it’s just not no I know people
probably gonna call me out say Scotty you’re hypocrite you probably let them
idle all the time or you work a time well yes I do but I also have this my
big air fan literally it’s called big air I stick in front of the car turned
on full-blast and they’re put in front of a running car now if you see guys
working on cars letting them idle a long time and they don’t
put a giant fan in front of it hey they’re not good mechanics it’s keeping
the engine cool plus it’s also blowing all the noxious vapors downstream so I
don’t have to breathe them in now realize the number one damage caused
there in your car is heat whether it be heat from the engine heat from the
transmission getting hotter as its spinning they’re just sitting there
idling but it’s in Drive like I said if you put it in neutral or park that’s
going to get rid of some of the heat to transmissions put not at least I
realized that modern cars a very high pressure cooling system when I was young
mechanic they had low pressure some of only had five psi they a giant radiators
and they didn’t need a high pressure because the radiators are so big they could
take the heat with lower pressure but today some cars have 25 psi pressure
cooling system higher the pressure the more strain on the systems as it ages
and things start to either leak or Springs where and the cap doesn’t hold
the pressure right you don’t want to stress a system like that sitting for 20
minutes with your car idling and drive especially here in Houston where hey it
was 105 days in a row this summer I mean let’s face it if you’re driving a
standard transmission and he’s sitting there waiting you don’t push down the
clutch and put it in first gear and leave it with all that strain pushing on
it put it in neutral take your foot off the clutch then you put in the clutch
and put it in so at least put your car in neutral or park if you’re planning on
sitting for a long time and you just have to have that car running now let’s
say you live up north and it’s freezing winter well don’t learn it idle isn’t really
gonna hurt anything if it’s so cold outside the cold is gonna dissipate any
of the heat you create but even in the summer I’ve been in Wisconsin when it
was 99 degrees it can get hot there too so you don’t want to strain a car in hot
weather by idling it and drive for extended periods of time because I’ve
had customers with really old cars and when they let them idle too long they
bring him in here I could see the catalytic converters they were actually
glowing red it got so hot that they were glowing red the metal got red-hot
because I say you got an older car the catalytic converters purpose is to burn
on dirt hydrocarbons and does that by burning them up and get real hot your
engines old and it puts out a lot of hydrocarbons and it’s burning it up it’s
gonna get so hot that it can get red-hot I’ve seen that of course that’s
dangerous so you got a really old car hey my advice shut the thing off if
you’re gonna be sitting there for 5 10 15 minutes
don’t let it sit there idling cuz if the cats get that hot
hey I’ve seen them start grass fires nice just you’re out in the country
don’t get so hot it’ll start the grass on fire that’s one of the reasons they
put those heat shields on them originally to cover them all up but a
lot of the modern ones don’t have such big heat shields because it’s too
cumbersome there’s no space and warm up so they
get hot and if something gets in there and it starts a fire just cuz you’re
sitting there idling too long and that was one of the original problems with
catalytic converters when they first came out they’re finding that they’re
going to the national forests and stuff and they could start fires because they
were just getting too hot they hadn’t hadn’t perfected you out they didn’t
have the materials perfected and they ran way too hot and the original ones
didn’t have any heat shields on them at all and they often did start fires now
odds are you’re not gonna start a fire just sitting there idling but you do
where your transmission engine out prematurely and the catalytic converter
you can spend all that money to fix something that wouldn’t happen if you
would have just shut the engine off I remember a customer of mine years ago she
towed her car and I said well you blew your
engines it shot what happened she said well it was overheating when I was on a
highway but you know it was a big traffic jam and I was only 15 minutes
from home so I just kept driving it but then it got into the H and then it
stopped running well it’s not that direct idling but over time it can do
the same kind of damage if you do it all the time so do your car a favor and
don’t sit idle in it for extended periods of time unless of course you
have an electric car then it doesn’t matter cuz when you’re sitting there the
motor isn’t doing anything the only thing that’s working would be the
electric air conditioner that runs off the battery and that’s cooling you off
but it’s made to do that, scotty just gave you a good reason for buying an electric
car something I normally don’t do so, if you never want to miss another one of my
new car repair videos, remember to ring that Bell

100 thoughts on “Never Let Your Car Idle

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  • This is why I never drive during rush hour. Too much time idling. I almost never turn on the AC/Heat, but when I do, I turn it off when the car is not moving. Also, I plan out my destinations BEFORE starting the car to reduce idle time. I start the engine and go immediately

  • I added mechanical hand operated extra fan. When I idle at a stop it overheats… watch the needle climb. And by the way it is a 1988 Mitsu. Thinking of adding a heat exchanger to the transmission. Understand not to idle over 3 minutes… better to shut the engine and save gas. Some locations give you no options/choices.

  • i have a 2014 chevy cruze… i have codes. the car tech advisor told me its going to be 887.00 to fix. the codes are …. PO106, P1101, P 2220 i think i am going to be scammed is this correct,

  • Isnt it better though to let it idle than to turn it off and then back on in 5 min to save the engine from firing up constantly? I dunno what to do

  • After driving and then parking in the garage I pop the hood so things cool off. Heat does make parts wear out quicker.

  • Catalytic converter glowing red means it's clogged, nothing to do with idling. Means oil and other stuff are getting in the cat, or wrong oil is being used.

  • In the summer months I remove the hood of the car and I drive around without it so I can idle it too, no problem, heat dissipates faster without a hood. I also use synthetic motor oil that can handle the heat better.

  • We let cars idle all the time for hours and hours and hours as taxies during the winter here in Finland. Mercedes + BMW:s all the time just sit idling for really long times. During winter we kinda have to, don't want to get cold or have a cold ride for customers or drain the battery with a fuelheater, since the extra devices already consume a lot of electricity. It hasn't really caused problems so far, it's not that hot here in Finland and during winter it's cold. Really cold. We have diesel engines though mostly, so maybe it makes a difference.

    In general yea you don't want to leave your car idle if you don't have to, i agree on that.

  • Surprise Minneapolis won’t allow anymore drive-troughs. This coming from the district that voted in the anti-Semitic, socialist lady…..being nice calling her a lady.

  • My Elantra has remote start. It always runs for several minutes before I get into it – summer or winter – to get the cabin to a more comfortable temperature. I haven’t considered the engine wear that it may cause, but then, why is remote start included?

  • My Crazy Smart Cousin Has Taken ALL His Plastic Undercage Parts And Created Metal Replacements!..
    And Has Also R/R ALL His Rubber Hoses With BRAIDED HOSES…
    He Works At A Caterpillar Dealership With Full Fabrication Shop

  • If you can, clean the radiator fan blades once/twice a year. When the blades build up dirt and grime, they become inefficient in blowing air. If you don't believe me, ask yourself why Helicopters and prop planes blades are cleaned all the time. It increases the air flow.

  • So with my new Honda civic … it's not a good idea to have my break hold on when I'm in a traffic jam in the summertime? Just wondering. Thanks if anyone knows 👍🇺🇲

  • Off topic it is amazing what the internet can do my son spending all day in the xbox i took it away he told me what i he could do to get it back i told him to fix the ac on my truck which i knew was impossible for him to do and guess what i have ac now

  • Another common sense video. If I pull up to a stoplight or railroad crossing that I know is a lengthy stop, I put it in neutral. Most railroad crossings. turn it off. More great advice Scotty!

  • I knew not using the drive through was good for something. (Really i just prefer to eat at the place and ordering is just easier with my coupons.)

  • In Saudi Arabia with very high heat and dust only one car can stay in idle with cold a/c for hours I work in the field in desert areas and tried almost most major cars but only Land cruisers can handle I personally don’t like the car but man it’s a beast

  • He doesn’t make sense because when your car idle that’s when cooling fans kick in? To cool down motor while idling that’s what it’s made for ?

  • My car takes 5w30 fully S oil. I use castrol 5w30 c3 oil, what will happen if I put A5 or C2 oil in same grade tho 5w30. Please help answer my Question.

  • Wow! Couldn't agree more. Can't understand how some people will sit there with their cars idling for ten minutes and then turn them off and go into their house or a store. Nuts!

  • Real world advice from Scotty, "blow them noxious fumes down wind to your neighbor…" This is why you are an Automotive Demigod.

  • I live where it's burning hot in summer (45-53)℃ .. we cannot turn off the engine .. we need the AC , you're dead without it , so it either you heat up and melt down or your engine heat up and blow up ..

  • I let my car idle or warm up for 2 or 3 minutes on start up . I put it in neutral from drive when I come to a long red light or stuck in traffic. Hope I not hurting my car.

  • My concern with not idling is eventually you can wear out the starter motor and by starting and stopping eventually the battery will go flat

  • Jeez letting your vehicle idle ain’t gonna do anything to it. Think about it, your engine and transmission go through a heck of a lot more stress while your actually driving the vehicle. And it is also proven that the most wear happens at startup so if your only going to be stopped 5-10 even 15 minutes your best off just letting it idle because turning the vehicle off, on, off, on, off, more then you need to actually IS going to cause damage over time. A lot more then you’d ever cause by just letting it idle..

  • Scotty, Is it worth converting rear drum brakes to disc brakes on a 2004 Tundra?

    My brakes feel a little mushy and I believe it’s due to rear drum brakes.

  • Darn it. I guess I gotta stop spending an hour during my lunch with the truck idling and the a/c running. Thanks Scotty. Texas.

  • I'm watching this as I'm Idling in parking lot….seriously though if less than 5 minutes unless it's 95 degrees…'s worse to dry start car…

  • Hey Scotty, in another video you criticized the auto start stop engine technology, which would essentially stop the idling engine say when you stop at a light, now in this video you say not to idle the engine.
    Which one is the better of the 2?

  • Wow i usually park my ctsv and sleep in there for like 2 hours idling with the ac. My job demands the sleep time is hot. Never had issue tho. 2016 ctsv. New. 50000km

  • Out of topic, but instead of braking for people slowing down to turn, I just pass them whenever possible to not have to accelerate back to speed again. Easier on my car and keeps traffic flowing.

  • I'm either at a stop light or drive thru my 2008 kia optima lx rattles a bit so I put on park meanwhile then put right back to drive if it's time accelerate.

  • This is the video that makes me know Scotty is the real deal you’re awesome bro!!

    A few months ago I was at a Dodge dealership and they had a hellcat just Idling for three hours + well as I got my van serviced I Commented about it they just ignored me but researched and uncle google said it wouldn’t affect it because temperatures BUT! Scotty’s right plastics , electric I left Who know that hellcat still idling out there somewhere thanks for your awesome video !

  • I LOVE YOUR VIDS SCOTTY! Just bought a new car a few months ago and never had much car education, so your videos help so much!:)

  • Can antifreeze go bad sitting in the jug? I had several gallons of the concentrate so I put all of it in my radiator. The temperature got down to almost 0° one night and it looked like a solid in the over flow jug so I looked inside of the radiator and it looked lumpy like it was starting to freeze up. It was about January, so I just parked my car in the garage for the rest of the Winter. So, did my antifreeze date expire in the jug? Was it defective? Why would it freeze like that? What is this orange Dexcool I see sometimes in the stores? So many questions…. Can you do a video on antifreeze????

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