Running idle for long periods of time.....good?
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  1. #1
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    Running idle for long periods of time.....good?

    I'm in many situations where it is either very hot or very cold out. I travel quite a bit with my Passat and when I stop to take a nap, or watch my children play/practice or stopping to observe various things I have the car idleing for different lengths of time. It can be 15 minutes or it can be an hour and most of the time it is after the car has been running awhile and warmed up.
    Does this do damage to the engine? Is there something that could be done during this idleing period, like revving the engine a few times every 15 minutes, ect ?

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  3. #2
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    Somehow to me this just doesn't sound healthy, especially in temp. extremes.

    Anyone?

  4. #3
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    I heard something about exhaust gases building up while you're stationary isn't good.

  5. #4
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    I'd just worry about exhaust fumes entering the pass. compartment. As far as harm .. none if it doesn't over heat. Trucks leave them on all the time .. Race cars do too.

  6. #5
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    Bad for the engine and environment. Damages components in the engine as well as wasting fuel.

    I think if you're gonna idle for longer than 2 minutes it's better to shut off the engine, unless you need the heater or something electrical that requires the engine running (radio works without key in engine).

    The cost of repairs, if any, for frequent restarting will be recouped and then some in gas savings.

    I think you only have to worry about gases re-entering the cabin if the exhaust is blocked or you are inside an enclosed area with no/poor circulation.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by step@[dartmouth
    ]Bad for the engine and environment. Damages components in the engine as well as wasting fuel.

    .
    Can you be specific? On the engine damage I mean .. beyond normal wear and tear ?

  8. #7
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    There's a 30 second by-law in my city for idling... I think it should be everywhere. Its a waste of gas, and I was told its not good for the car.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Point8T
    There's a 30 second by-law in my city for idling... I think it should be everywhere. Its a waste of gas, and I was told its not good for the car.
    I listen to 105 FM ( country ) all the time from there .. sure a lot of controversy over that law.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesstzn
    I listen to 105 FM ( country ) all the time from there .. sure a lot of controversy over that law.
    I don't think its enforced though... :suspicio:

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Point8T
    Quote Originally Posted by Jesstzn
    I listen to 105 FM ( country ) all the time from there .. sure a lot of controversy over that law.
    I don't think its enforced though... :suspicio:
    Donut shop +21 C ... outside - 20C with a 40 K wind .. odds are ....

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesstzn
    Donut shop +21 C ... outside - 20C with a 40 K wind .. odds are ....
    Plus I think cops idle themselves...

    You should try to get Jack 96.9 on your radio.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Point8T
    There's a 30 second by-law in my city for idling... I think it should be everywhere. Its a waste of gas, and I was told its not good for the car.
    Yeah, try to do it in SoCal summer, with 105F in the shadow and who knows how much on the sun. To me it is worse than sitting in a cold, when you at least could put something on to be warm.

  14. #13
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    im sorry but unless your in some extreme hot/cold, DON'T idle the engine for more than 5 min at most...let alone an hour . First, it's a complete waste of energy and money, but most imporitantly, by just sitting in neutral/park your car is creating a ridiculous amount of pollution, for nothing. If you even read your owners manual, it recommends you shutting your engine off even if stopped for a long time in traffic.

  15. #14
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    From experience when I was younger, I used to take a nap in my moms saab when I was in school (she worked there). I used to leave it running for an hour or two a day... I know looking back on it, it was a waste of energy and bad for the enviorment bla bla... but that was 8 years ago and we still have that car with 200,000+ miles on it and it is still going strong.... but that is a Saab, not a Passat.

    So yes its bad for the enviroment, but I don't think it is that bad for your car... unless it is really hot out b/c I would assume the engine is partly designed to be cooled via the radiator with just the air flow from when you are driving... I am sure the big radiator fan helps, but the hot air can only be blown so far when standing still.

    So don't go nuts leaving the engine running all the time.

  16. #15
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    Modern cars are not hurt with long term idling. Fuel injection systems are so accurate that carbon buildup at idle doesn't happen like it did in carberated cars. As for the pollution, pretty minor since you burn more gas driving for 15 mintues than idling for over an hour. I would only worry about that in places like Calagry, Fairbanks, and other places that get temperature inversions for days at a time that hold emmisions over the area.

    One thing to remember about pollution from emissions, the cast majority are put out during warmup. Once the cat reaches operating temperatures, very little pollution is emmited. (This is not counting CO2 which may or may not be a pollutant)
    Original Club B5 member: 08 R32 & missing my 99 B5

  17. #16
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    Something I've noticed about the Passat is that the engine doesn't heat up very quickly idling. When it's cold outside in the morning (less than 30), I always started the car and let it idle with the heater on so it could heat up a bit and get the fluids flowing before I started driving it. It only ran for a couple of minutes at most, while I was loading up the car. Other cars seemed to heat up a lot quicker than the Passat. My old Jeeps would actually start making heat pretty quickly, but not the Passat. I have to drive it at reasonable speeds for a couple of minutes before the temp gauge starts reading anything. Not that that's bad, just interesting.

  18. #17
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    It says right in the VW owners manual that this is bad for the engine. At least, it says so in my owner's manual....

  19. #18
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    I have heard nothing about idiling after a drive, but suposivly it is not good for the engine to warm it up idil, the manual recommends driving the car, i believe this is to get all of the fluids moving properly. But im not really sure, i try just to drive my car slowly until it warms up which does take forever.

  20. #19
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    The only wear-and-tear thing I can think of to worry about in an extended idle situation is the ICM (Ignition Control Module, on older B5s with "old-style" coilpacks), especially in warmer weather. The ICM is mounted atop the airbox and is cooled by the flow of air through the airbox; lower airflow (i.e. at idle) equals less cooling for the ICM. B5s of this vintage (mine is one) were somewhat prone to ICM failures and I've heard anecdotal evidence makes me think that failure is more likely to occur at idle.

    Aside from that, I just don't see much point in burning gas to use my car as a heater or air conditioner. If I'm cold I'll put on a coat...if I'm hot I'll find some shade...of I'll just go indoors.

  21. #20
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    Its interesting and healthy to get all the different points of view on idleing. I was thinking in the more modern cars that pollution from idleing engine was considerably less than cars 10-20 years ago. In being a sales rep and putting 30k on my passat/year I spend quite a bit of time at rest area's along with the truckers. Most of them for heating/air conditioning/electrical use have their engines at a constsant idle for hours. In the winter months I will have the engine idleing while i'm stopped for heat purposes for sometimes up to an hour. I've spoken with a few truckers about this and they believe its ok for modern engines. I've never heard of idleing laws at all, but does idleing give off more pollution than normal driving? Oh yea, i also leave my engine on in case of a carjack attempt while i'm napping for a fast getaway :eek:

    Inky........Does it say in the VW owners manual that idleing is bad for the environment or the engine?

  22. #21
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    3 problems: environment, emissions, and camshafts

    Auto Bild magazine wrote an article about this a while back.

    Firstly, in Germany, for environmental reasons, leaving your car to idle is against the law, and carries a fine of 50 euros.

    Secondly, the catalytic converter actually cools down (relative to its temperature while you're driving) if the engine is left to idle for extended periods. This has a negative effect on emissions.

    And finally, studies among taxi operators show that the camshafts wear most while an engine is at idle. Auto Bild published this picture:


  23. #22
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    What do German police do when they go into the strudel shop? Does the idle law apply to them too? Not to hijack the thread, but what kind of motors do German police cars and taxis use?

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ONE8T
    What do German police do when they go into the strudel shop? Does the idle law apply to them too? Not to hijack the thread, but what kind of motors do German police cars and taxis use?
    I believe Mercedes-Benz, IIRC. The 2003 Autoshow in Munich showed some MB cabs and police cars.

  25. #24
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    Re: 3 problems: environment, emissions, and camshafts

    Quote Originally Posted by Elegance
    ...And finally, studies among taxi operators show that the camshafts wear most while an engine is at idle. Auto Bild published this picture:
    Das klingt gut mit mir. It makes sense that the camshaft (which is essentially the highest moving part on the engine) could get a little starved for oil if your idle speed were low for a period of time. Is this the reason that Auto Bild cited for the wear?

  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by step@[dartmouth
    ](radio works without key in engine)
    And so does the engine! :-)

    I think the reason the manual tells you to drive off right away and not to idle too long is because they are concerned about emissions. They may throw in the text "it's bad for the engine" to get the masses to stop polluting the environment needlessly. Of course this is trickery, but I kinda agree with it - most people only care about their own back (in this case extended to their property, i.e. the engine in their car), so you tell them it's bad for THEIR property in order to get them to do the right thing by the environment, which benefits us all.

    The engine should be just fine idling, esp. in modern cars. That said, it's pretty silly and irresponsible unless you have a specific need like keeping warm. Living w/o A/C isn't life-threatening, as is frost-bite, but most ppl are too comfortable to turn the engine, and therefore A/C, off. Note that you can run the heater after you turn the engine off, but as the water cools so will the air. But you should be able to turn the engine off for at least 5 minutes and still have heat, depending on how cold it is outside. Of course, you should have a coat for when you eventually need to leave the car, so you can just put that on to keep warm And you will be protected from winds w/o polluting the environment

  27. #26
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    Re: 3 problems: environment, emissions, and camshafts

    Quote Originally Posted by DaddyMatt
    Das klingt gut mit mir. It makes sense that the camshaft (which is essentially the highest moving part on the engine) could get a little starved for oil if your idle speed were low for a period of time. Is this the reason that Auto Bild cited for the wear?
    :-) I think you mean, "Das klingt gut BEI mir". Anyhow, Auto Bild doesn't cite a reason for wear to the camshaft other than to say that idle speed causes the highest stress on the valve train. I think they mean "relative to medium rpms typically encountered in driving"; I don't think they mean relative to redline.

  28. #27
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    "Das klingt mir gut" if I remember my 5 years of german correctly. :wink:

  29. #28
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    Is it good for your car? I don't think so. But as a Police officer we leave are car's running all the time. Thet idle for 3-4 hours at some accident scene's just to keep the light bar on requires the car to be running. unless you want to have to call for maintanence to jump your car after word (that always look's good). Nobody beat's on car's more then cop's and these things still go 150k before replacement, and it's a FORD. Your VW should have no prob.

  30. #29
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    Engines these days are built much in the same way. My point is that Ford engines aren't THAT bad and VW engines aren't THAT good, quality-wise not characteristic-wise. I think the final choice really comes down to the overall car, where a car like VW really excels (for some people, like you and I). I think all modern engines, even those in a Kia (not bad engines - it's the cars that suck), should be pretty much equal. If anything, a Turbo engine with very very special oil requirements would have more problems than a Crown Victoria's engine. And if you ever need to repair the engine, you can swap the Ford's entire engine for the price of an oil change on our VW

  31. #30
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    I actually have become really well known over the years for allowing my cars to idle for hours at a time.

    I never really did it that much with the Passat though, not sure why. Anyway I've never had any problems with my cars from doing this, unless it really does affect the life of the catylitic conv. Cause most of my vehicles I've replaced the cat before 60k mi. However I did notice that both the Accord and Passat when you allow to idle will sitting in it watching a game or whatever, seems to increase the idle automaticly every 10-15min for a short time. This is interesting because I have been told that the damage that can be caused by idling is caused by the car not idling at a high enough rpm to actuate/engage the oil pump to recirculate your engine oil.




    Side note:

    Yes FORD engines do suck...... idle or no idle
    http://www.clubb5.com/forums/viewtop...860&highlight=

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