How to Reduce Vehicle Idling Times and Save Fuel Costs

How to Reduce Vehicle Idling Times - Track my wheels

With busy city centres and traffic lights not working due to rain and load shedding, vehicles are spending a lot of time idling. Is this bad for your car? Let’s find out by looking at what idling is, how it affects your vehicle and what you can do to reduce the time you spend doing it.

Idling is when your vehicle is switched on but you’re not moving; you’ve either got your foot on the brake or your handbrake is raised. It’s what you do when you’re waiting for the traffic officers to tell you it’s your turn to go.

Technically speaking, it all happens with the engine control unit (ECU), the idle air control (IAC) valve, and the idle screw. These work together to allow a certain amount of air to enter through the butterfly valve. When you’re idling, only a tiny bit of air comes through and reaches the combustion chamber. This allows the car to stay on, even though there’s no throttle input from the accelerator.


Why is Idling Bad for Your Vehicle? 

Why is Idling Bad for Your Vehicle?

Idling is bad for your vehicle in a number of ways. Let’s delve into them.


Wear and Tear

CarTrack reports that an hour of idling every day is the equivalent of 102,998km of engine wear per year. Imagine the cost of that if you’re a fleet manager and you have several heavy-duty trucks doing this every day. That’s a lot of money spent just on vehicle maintenance alone. For your personal car, think of the money you could save if you idle less.

This is because idling places twice as much wear on your vehicle’s parts as driving does. Fuel can wash away the oil that lubricates the engine, and partially combusted fuel can damage the engine, spark plugs, and exhaust because of the modern fuel-consumption regulating sensors that don’t allow the engine to heat up properly.


Air Pollution

Idling a car creates the same amount of air pollution as driving does, and we know these fumes aren’t good for us or the environment. And, because there’s no air flow to vent emissions while idling, it can have even worse effects on drivers’ health than actual driving.

In addition, the US Environmental Protection Agency released data that showed that transport caused 29% of all greenhouse gasses in that country. It’s no surprise when you consider that one wasted litre of diesel puts 2.64kg of CO2 into the atmosphere.


Drives up Costs

Fuel is ridiculously expensive these days, and fuel prices seem to be forever going up and up. Being able to reduce this cost could make anyone’s day. CarTrack estimates that an idling car uses between 0.76 and 2.65 litres of fuel per hour. And how much fuel did you get for R300 the other day? This one hurts.


Negatively affects your bottom line

If you run a business, you can reduce your business costs by improving the mpg (miles per gallon) of your fleet vehicles. This goes for anything from small-scale, one-bakkie businesses to large-scale operations with fleets of vehicles. The bigger the business, the bigger the savings, so if you are a fleet manager, making good driving habits a part of regular training for your drivers is a great idea.

So with all this in mind, is there a way to reduce idle time, especially considering the state of our roads and traffic lights most of the time? The good news is that there is!



Reducing Idle Time


If you have a car with a stop-start feature, use it. Idling for just 10 seconds uses more fuel than driving does. And considering the wear and tear on your engine caused by idling, it’s an easy way to create better fuel efficiency., especially if you are often in heavy traffic.


Install a Tracker

Tracking devices are more than just vehicle recovery systems. Modern ones can tell you a lot about your driving habits and give valuable information about the routes you take to work and the shops. It’s worth getting one and installing it in your car to gather data.

Avoiding traffic and out-of-order robots could mean lower fuel consumption—all because these situations cause you to idle. When you have a tracking device that has telematics capabilities, you can find out just how much time you’re spending idling.

These vehicle telematics solutions are especially important for fleet owners, since excessive idling can have a significant impact on your entire fleet. With telematics technology, you can reduce vehicle emissions, lower fuel bills, and extend the lifetime of your fleet vehicles.

Once you’ve driven for, say, a month, you can analyse the data. Try out different routes during that time and see which ones produce the least amount of idle time. By doing this, you’ll have better fuel efficiency and your pocket will thank you for it.

Decided you need a tracker? We don’t blame you! You can easily get a quote for one right here on our site. Simply in the quick quote form on this page, and we’ll connect you with the best major tracking device company for your needs, saving you time and money.