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Old 18.10.2012, 12:24
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Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

Was stuck in a line of traffic in Mellingen this morning (God, they really need the bypass, the congestion is horrendous!).

Anyway, the line of traffic before the junction was stop-go every few seconds. The car in front of me was stopped, engine off. Cars moved forward three meters - engine start, move, engine off. Stationary for less than 10 seconds; engine start, move 3 metres, engine off. This happened seven times ! (And it clearly wasn't a car with the automatic stop/start technology; it was an old car)

I've seen this a lot, the second the wheels stop rotating - engine immediately off. Sometimes even for just a few seconds, such as at a zebra crossing, parking barrier, etc.

What gives ? This cannot be so healthy for the battery, nor for the emissions when the (old) engine starts, especially in the cold. You've driven for 20 minutes, but started and stopped the engine 27 times.. Guess it must just be automatic habit. I am fine with switching the engine off when you KNOW you are going to be waiting a while, but not when it's just going to be a few seconds.
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Old 18.10.2012, 12:28
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

There IS a threshhold where turning an engine on/off actually consumes more fuel than simply leaving it idling. And yes, this driver is wearing out all kinds of mechanical components that will then have to be repaired/replaced sooner, further offsetting the perceived "benefit" of turning off the car...
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Old 18.10.2012, 12:30
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

old cars = don't bother
new cars = keep the clutch in or disable (specially if it's an automatic)
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Old 18.10.2012, 12:41
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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old cars = don't bother
new cars = keep the clutch in or disable (specially if it's an automatic)
Won't that wear out your clutch plate? Last time I checked, transmissions were one of the most expensive parts of the car to repair...
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Old 18.10.2012, 12:46
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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Won't that wear out your clutch plate? Last time I checked, transmissions were one of the most expensive parts of the car to repair...
Pushing the clutching in causes zero wear on the plate as the clutch is not engaged, you have to keep it in anyway otherwise the car will stall when you stop.

These new Eco cars will only switch the engine off if you stop, stick it in neutral and take your foot off the clutch, so to get around this in slow traffic simply keep the clutch in and don't stick it in neutral. Automatics are worse, as soon as the car comes to a halt the engine is off straight away which is annoying as you might just be about to turn at a junction!
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Old 18.10.2012, 12:55
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

Its a good thing you didnt mention anything about any smoke coming from the other car.

I hear that can be a delicate subject on this forum
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Old 18.10.2012, 13:08
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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Pushing the clutching in causes zero wear on the plate as the clutch is not engaged, you have to keep it in anyway otherwise the car will stall when you stop.

These new Eco cars will only switch the engine off if you stop, stick it in neutral and take your foot off the clutch, so to get around this in slow traffic simply keep the clutch in and don't stick it in neutral. Automatics are worse, as soon as the car comes to a halt the engine is off straight away which is annoying as you might just be about to turn at a junction!
You have to keep it in if you leave the car in gear. This creates more wear & tear on parts like the release bearing, etc. People cite that there is a need to have the car "ready to go" should an emergency occur. Maybe, but maybe we're all not Paul Walker and Vin Diesel and wouldn't react in time anyway...
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Old 18.10.2012, 13:19
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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This creates more wear & tear on parts like the release bearing, etc.
Yes but not the clutch plates
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Old 18.10.2012, 13:30
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

our rule of thumb is it needs to be off at least 30 seconds to make it worth the while. Usually by the time I start thinking how long we will be stopped, 30 seconds goes by and then I wonder if it is still worth it as the line could start any second now

When I was studying for the test for my driver's license in Germany I remember they taught to turn them off at railway crossings, but definitely not at zebra crossings or red lights. But are we talking about a hybrid here - I skimmed that info?

edit: re-read that it was an old car
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Old 18.10.2012, 13:42
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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Its a good thing you didnt mention anything about any smoke coming from the other car.

I hear that can be a delicate subject on this forum
I don't think the driver was smoking..
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Old 18.10.2012, 14:57
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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I don't think the driver was smoking..
Sounds like someone might have been fuming though...
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Old 18.10.2012, 15:10
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

Aren't people taught here that if you are the fourth or later car in a non-moving queue of cars, you are supposed to turn off your engine until the queue starts moving again?
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Old 18.10.2012, 15:31
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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Won't that wear out your clutch plate? Last time I checked, transmissions were one of the most expensive parts of the car to repair...

the only thing it will wear out is the clutch release bearing
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Old 18.10.2012, 18:24
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

Shutting off the car constantly in stop and go traffic isn't that great of an idea. Nothing catastrophic but added wear overall.

Wear on the starter, battery, flywheeel/flexplate.

You also consume more fuel (although not as much as a cold engine start) when restarting constantly than to just let it run at idle.

This next part is speculation: That extra fuel doesn't COMPLETELY burn and off to the cats and pre-cat o2 sensors. You may get a check engine light (MIL) with a system too rich fault, then the car tries to lean itself out and starts running rough. Now off to the shop you go unless it clears itself out...

The only wear on the clutch when depressing the pedal is on the Throwout Bearing. And maybe the linkages/slave cylinder. But considering a clutch, when NOT abused can last 80K-100K Miles (130K to 160K km.)

What really wears out a clutch is using it at a stop when on a hill instead of the brakes. I've heard friends I caught doing that say "but I save on brake lining." Yeah, I'd rather do a brake job than a clutch on my own car.

-Dk
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Old 18.10.2012, 18:48
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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...
These new Eco cars will only switch the engine off if you stop, stick it in neutral and take your foot off the clutch, so to get around this in slow traffic simply keep the clutch in and don't stick it in neutral. Automatics are worse, as soon as the car comes to a halt the engine is off straight away which is annoying as you might just be about to turn at a junction!
I hired an Audi A4 diesel last week, when I visited the UK. It had automatic start/stop which was a bit of surprise when it first happened. I was also surprised at how quickly the engine came back on again.

There was a button on the dashboard to switch auto-stop off. Which I pressed as soon as I found it.
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Old 18.10.2012, 19:23
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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There was a button on the dashboard to switch auto-stop off. Which I pressed as soon as I found it.
Why? You aleady said the engine started very quickly. And component wear isn't going to bother you in a hire car.
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Old 18.10.2012, 19:40
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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Why? You aleady said the engine started very quickly. And component wear isn't going to bother you in a hire car.
Well it annoys me too I like for the car to move as soon as I press the accelerator pedal, without that (even if small) delay required to start the engine.

I have an objective reason too: I don't drive too often in London, the weather is wet a lot of the time and auto start/stop puts even more stress on the battery.

Honestly I think it's a gimmick so that cars can comply with ever stricter emissions regulations, with the added 'benefit' of more complexity and higher engine wear, which puts more money in the pockets of dealers and car companies.
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Old 19.10.2012, 09:21
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

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I have an objective reason too: I don't drive too often in London, the weather is wet a lot of the time and auto start/stop puts even more stress on the battery.
I don't think so. The start/stop technology has been on the drawing boards in R&D departments for a long time, and the current implementation of it is really quite advanced. It needs to be in order to gain acceptance; the engine has to start extremely quickly, and for that a lot of components need additional development with this in mind, including the control system and battery. If I remember correctly, the best implementations can ensure the engine starts literally in milliseconds.
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Old 19.10.2012, 09:45
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

Which one of, who refuses to turn off their engine, is the one with the Landrover Discovery who leaves the diesel engine on when using the Horgen-Meilen ferry?

(Until the ferry crew tell you to turn it off).
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Old 19.10.2012, 09:50
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Re: Constantly starting and stopping the engine..

Personally, I think that the auto stop/start is fine if you're driving a hybrid which can get moving with electric power then have the engine kick later. But if you are sitting at an intersection, you need to be able to move immediately instead of waiting for the engine to "boot up".

As a motorcyclist, you learn to sit at an intersection with the bike in gear and the clutch engaged, so that you can immediately move if a car coming from behind fails to brake in time. Sure, getting rear-ended in my Audi won't be quite as painful as getting knocked off my Suzuki, but if I can avoid the contact all together by rolling forward a few meters, I want to leave this option open. And not have to wait 1-2 seconds until the car decides that I might need the engine.
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