Idling your car consumes less fuel than restarting the engine”. Every car owner has heard this being told every now and then. Have you been given this piece of advice as well?

Ever tried to find out whether it’s true or not?

To spill the truth, this is a myth that has been doing the rounds for several years now. And it is quite a simple myth to bust. But what’s more surprising is that the majority of car users blindly believe that starting your engine will use more fuel compared to when your car is idling.

We say nothing but the truth and to know that, keep reading this blog!

Does Idling Your Car Need Less Fuel than Restarting Your Engine?

When the concern is over improving fuel efficiency, engine idling does have some serious implications. If your vehicle is idling for an excessive period of time, it can lead to increased fuel consumption, in turn, causing wear and tear on engine parts, impacting the vehicle’s longevity and also harming the environment.

But first,

What is car idling?

Coming straight from ‘idle’, it is when your vehicle is not moving at all like when you’re stuck in the traffic. Idling is an integral part of the vehicle driving process and is a kind of common experience for many drivers. Nevertheless, idling is never beneficial for fuel efficiency, the environment and the overall condition of your car.

A great way to boost fuel economy is by reducing the amount of time your car is left idle.

How is car idling related to fuel efficiency?

The myth that leaving your car engine idle is reasonable than turning on and off your car, has been a prevalent one now. Some drivers must have thought that turning on the engine uses more fuel than staying idle for a few minutes.

But that thought is completely WRONG!

Turning on the engine requires a very small amount of fuel. On the contrary, in idling, the vehicle needs more fuel to keep the engine running continuously.

Thus, if you’re waiting for your friend to come out of that lifestyle store, it’s wise enough to turn off your car. The money you’ll save may not be a significant amount initially but you’re saving money, right?

So, cheers!

Also read: 6 Crucial Car Fluids You Must Check Regularly

In what way does idling impact your car’s engine?

When talking about idling your car, we’ve also heard that your car should remain idle for some minutes before driving.

And our reaction?


This. Is. A. Myth. Again.

You can let your car idle before driving only if your model is an old one. However, in modern vehicles, the car engine is designed differently to enhance fuel efficiency and doesn’t require idling prior to driving the vehicle.

If you have the latest car model, you don’t need to let the engine idle even if it is sitting in the garage. Only a few seconds is needed for your car to power up. Idling your vehicle is clearly destructive as it leads to fuel wastage and pollutes the environment too.

Does your car consume fuel when it stays parked?

The answer is yes. Even when it is parked, your car continues to consume fuel. It is a common practice among vehicle owners to idle by footing the brake pedal. Doing this and parking your car is essentially the same thing as both will need fuel to stay in action.

This implies that you and everyone around you will be forced to inhale a good amount of vehicle exhaust! Car exhaust contains very harmful pollutants and is a massive source of air pollution. Thus, never leave your car idling, especially in confined areas such as a small garage. Furthermore, breathing car exhaust is strictly unadvisable, if only you want your lungs to remain hale and hearty.

Also read: How Often Should I Go for Car Servicing?

Are there any ways to prevent vehicle idling?

Of course, there are! Experts offering services for auto electrical repairs recommend four super effective ways to end vehicle idling. Here they are:

1. Turn the engine off if you’re waiting for over 10 seconds: In contrast to the popular opinion, re-igniting your car engine doesn’t need more fuel than when you leave it idle. To clear the air, idling your vehicle for only 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting your car.

2. Avoid idling to warm up the car cabin: Another reason why idling your car is so discouraged is that if the car is idling and you’re sitting inside, you’ll be breathing a high amount of dirty, polluted exhaust that gets inside the car cabin. It is certainly not worth harming your health in the hope to enjoy a cozy, warm car interior. What say?

3. Idling is not the way to warm up the engine: Times have changed and so has the design of the car engines. Modern vehicle engines are designed in a way so that they do not require warming up, even if it is freezing winter temperatures outside. The most effective ways to supercharge your engine is by avoiding engine revving in excess and easing into your drive. Only a few seconds and your car is ready to be driven!

4. Less idling, longer engine lifespan: Worried that frequently restarting your car engine can impact the battery too? Not necessary! The cost of the wear (around $10 per year) is less expensive than the price of wasted fuel (which can shoot up to $80 – 700 per year, although it depends on the fuel prices, car model and idling practices). Idling actually affects the health of the car engine as it forces the car to continue operating for a longer time, unnecessarily.

Final Words: From this discussion, you can easily understand that we have busted the myth – idling your car needs less fuel than restarting the engine. By simply turning off the engine when not required, you can contribute towards a healthier environment by preventing the release of the harmful carbon dioxide and reducing the air pollution level, as well as saving fuel and money at the same time. We hope from now onwards, you won’t leave your vehicle idling, will you? If you’re searching for a ‘reliable car mechanic service near me’ at reasonable rates, don’t forget to check out Swezo.

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