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

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  2. When I've idled my car in cool climate, I always turn the heater on maximum power via windshield vent, does that make a difference ???

  3. I ended up sending an anonymous letter to a neighbour, about their car. Early each morning, they'd start their noisy car (probably illegally noisy, from the sound of it) and leave it idling for about five minutes. I don't know if they thought they were warming up the engine, but the car's only a couple of years old.

  4. I'm over here sitting in my Ford Pinto idling for 20 mins waiting for this train watching this. Should I turn it off.. nevermind it is overheating now.

  5. Hi Scotty. Does that also mean the start/stop systems on some newer vehicles would also solve this problem? They shut down the motor when the car stops and I assume the A/C would also be driven by an electric motor? I know otherwise, you don't like those systems. But since most probably have a switch to turn it on or off, the driver could just turn it on to stop the engine when sitting for long periods of time.

  6. I let my companies Ford diesel pickup idle all day so it’s always cold in there and because I don’t pay for the fuel.

  7. Idling, especially just after startup with a hot car can really stress the air conditioner. The condenser coil doesn't get enough air to cool from the fans alone. This not only affects how long it takes to cool down, but also increases the head pressure of the compressor which can lead to premature wear.

  8. Thank you Scotty, I like watching your videos long time ago. I'm George, I live in Egypt. I have a french car Peugeot 307

  9. "Leave a non offensive comment, and I'm giving away one of these BIG AIR FANS!" lol

    Scotty, do you know how many people sit on the Detroit freeways, for sometimes hours at a time going to and from work year after year!!!! lol…

    I'm glad I own a Prius, the generator on wheels.

  10. BMW and other car manufacture's are required by law to use recycled plastic's this is what cause's some of the problems

  11. I run my van with the ac on every night (to stay cool at work) for about 8 hours a night but i replaced the cooling system so i should be ok right?

  12. Enjoy buying a new bottom end and rings if you listen to the title. One of the worst parts of a engine to ever have to work on.

  13. Idling your car (on purpose such as drive thrus or inside parking lots) is a waste of money. Thats a good enough reason not to do it but now Scotty tells us its also bad for the car so that seals the deal. People need to stop being lazy. They where not idling when gas was $5 per gallon

  14. When I'm at a train track I shut the car off. Smart idea that you use the big fan to keep the engine and transmission cooled off. Best mechanic on YouTube! 👍Subscribe 🔔

  15. umm in cold weather states or diesels and towing vehicles this is mute and wrong unless in hot climates. like the Colorado mountains where I live, not idling to warm up the engine in my truck or turbo diesel vw will do far more damage to quickly jump in and go. ask semi truck drivers why use and wait for peak operating temps. in hot climates yes excess heat of long idling is problem, then turn car off.

  16. Modern engines (by Mazda and ford that I’m aware of) can handle idling fine. If it’s designed to work in Death Valley it’ll work fine idling in 98 degree weather. Check and change fluids and change belts on time

  17. I’m not sure how this applies to a car newer than 1975…

    This is just a bunch of non-information. Modern cars have more than adequate cooling systems with variable speed electric fans.

    Our 1.8 Passat spend hours and hours idling. It has 180,000 miles on it now. It’s never leaked coolant. You’re a snake oil mechanic Scotty

  18. Scotty, I have a 2013 Lexus GS350 RWD with 90k miles that I just bought last month. Every time I start it up it, white/grayish smoke comes out of the exhaust and disappears within 10-15 seconds. What causes this? Thanks in advance

  19. So I left my lights on the other day and needed a jump start. The operator said to let t idle for 45-60 minutes to charge it up. I didn't think that was wise or effective so I just went for a drive. I know ideally you'd pull the battery to charge but not realistic when out of town or in most situations.

  20. People, drive your cars. Let them idle. Rev them. Just drive safely. Enjoy your car you bought or was bought for you. Check your basics if you want them to last. Driving a car makes it last longer then not. More damage is caused by it sitting there.

  21. What are your tips for those living in hot humid tropical countries (Southeast Asia for instance) with horrendous traffic where we idle 70-80% of the time?

  22. Hey Scotty I love your videos. What’s your thoughts on all these engine covers on newer cars? My wife has a 2007 Lexus and the only thing you can see is the oil fill. Isn’t that holding in more than normal engine heat even when the car is moving?

  23. Anyone else cringe when he put his hand near not one but both MOVING fans to test if they’re running? Jesus Christ Scotty, just use your eyes to see if they’re moving!

  24. QUESTION FOR CAR PEOPLE what about remote start? I have a 2013 GMC Terrain (ya I know it’s a trashy SUV to start with but mines in great shape) but it’s -50 in the winter where I go to school so remote start is super common so how bad is remote start to use in the winter… say for 5 minutes before taking off??? It’s the first question my friend with a Chevy cruise with coolant leak: “do you idle a lot/use remote start?” Lmao so I’d love to know the answer.. thanks!

  25. Yass!!! It irks the crap out of me when I see people leave their car running while they go into a store or ppl who just leave their car running when they’re just sitting there on their phone or get out to talk to someone. They just look so oblivious and naive. My first two cars overheated easily so I got into the habit of NOT letting it idle since it would even start to overheat if I was at a stoplight for too long, hell I couldn’t even go through a drive through lol. But it taught me about cars a bit and now I don’t let my car idle for more than 5 mins, even when it’s hot as hell outside and I need air lol.

  26. My boss will let his truck idle on the job site for an hour or so his little dog can have air conditioning

    I told him he's killing his truck but he doesn't care

  27. What else can you do if you live in Houston during the summer if you work out of your car? I guess it's you or the vehicle dying of heat stroke!?! I thought you said the newer cars it does not hurt cause they have cooling fans!? You know as well as I do HPD officer's are sitting in their cars all day w/the a/c blasting and the engine idling in park. That's the only thing you can do to stay cool in Houston during the summer.

  28. In heavy traffic on the highway in hot weather, I'll shut my AC every so often to lower the heat under the hood and put it in neutral if I am am not moving for some time. Once I was stuck on the highway at least an hour as there was a serious accident up ahead. It was hot out and when I got home I opened the hood and anything metal to hot to touch from soaking up the heat. No problem in cool weather though.

  29. I have a 2015 Toyota Corolla and I live in south GA. The temp has been over 100 for 3 weeks. I have to wait for my daughter every school day for about 45 minutes and we have a LOT of trains.

    Is it OK to leave it in idol for that time? (I always put it in neutral)

  30. So, I have seen that you also told to turn off and on the car as less
    times as possible, then, in a traffic jam situation whats is better, let
    it idle or to turn it off knowing that in less than 1 minute you will
    have to turn it on again?

  31. So, I have seen that you also told to turn off and on the car as less
    times as possible, then, in a traffic jam situation whats is better, let
    it idle or to turn it off knowing that in less than 1 minute you will
    have to turn it on again?

  32. MY MECHANIC LETS CARS RUN FOR LONG TIMES. I HAVE TO TELL HIM THIS NOW. MAYBE HE DOES IT ON PURPOSE. WHO KNOWS. I HAVE WALKED INTO HIS SHOP AND WAITED hours FOR MY CAR TO BE INSPECTED AND HAVE SEEN CARS RUNNING, AND RUNNING FOR THE WHOLE TIME I WAS THERE ! I will ask him why next time I go.

  33. Remember the problem of "Heat Soak" when a liquid-cooled automobile engine is shut off, which stops the coolant pump when the engine stops?

  34. Nothing like being a mechanic, sitting a PT cruiser in a traffic jam for 2 hrs in Atlanta when its 104 degrees outside with the AC on. All these things start going through your mind.

  35. I drive for Uber and my car does a ton of idling. In the winter months I just let it for 10-15 minutes to heat the car and I’m usually warm for a good half an hour then run it for another 10-15 minutes. In the summer months I try to be outside of the car in between rides. If it’s 100 degrees and humid I’ll cool off for a good 20 minutes and get out of the car again. So I idle but do it in limited spurt

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