Is it bad for my engine? (Breaking Myths)

In 2012, the Obama administration finalized standards for auto companies to encourage average operating fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. To help achieve this goal, automakers have launched a variety of enhanced technologies, such as Auto-Start/Stop. However, there is a growing concern about whether automatic start/stop wears out engine components.

In this unbiased look, we take a look at how Auto-Start/Stop equipment works and whether it can harm your engine. The results may surprise you.

There is no evidence that automatic start/stop wears out the starter motor or other engine components faster than normal. The system only works when the engine is warm and therefore when the engine is very easy to start. Some engines also start almost exclusively on compression.

This is the quick answer to your question of Breaking Myths and for a more detailed answer with more data read on:

What is Auto-Start/Stop Technology?

When the car comes to a complete stop at a traffic light or signal, the Auto-Stop/Start function will temporarily stop the engine. When you’re ready to get moving again, the system will reboot automatically.

If you spend most of your journey on the highway, you may not even notice the fuel-saving benefits of this technology. However, urban commuters in stop-and-go traffic will see a big change in the car’s fuel economy as a result, even up to five percent more efficient.

How does automatic stop/start work?

Auto-Stop/Start systems come from a number of different manufacturers, with Denso being the largest supplier. This company supplies Auto-Stop/Start technology to all US manufacturers, Audi, Volvo, Fiat, Toyota, Hyundai and Land Rover.

This advanced system detects when the vehicle is stationary. With sensors telling you that the brake pedal has been depressed and the engine speed has dropped, you know what to do.

The system shuts down the engine and disengages the transmission. When the driver’s foot is released from the brake, the engine restarts with the transmission in gear. While the technology uses the use of the starter to crank the engine, there are more components involved in the whole process.

As long as the engine is temporarily turned off, all vehicle accessories will continue to function normally. You will not notice any difference with the air conditioning, wipers or radio during this process.

Is automatic start/stop bad for the engine or starter motor?

The biggest way to wear out your car’s engine is to start it. However, it is the cold start of the engine that causes the most wear. When you start an engine after hours or days of no use, it’s like putting a cold cup in a pot of boiling water, except the damage doesn’t happen as spontaneously.

When using the Auto-Start/Stop system, the car’s engine is not cold. The engine was only running a few seconds ago and will restart while the engine is still warming up. In addition, there are safety measures in the system if the engine temperature starts to drop. The technology starts the car before it enters the danger zone, as long as the key is still in the ignition.

In addition, manufacturers have started putting motor bearings in the motor that can withstand 250,000-300,000 starting cycles, up from 100,000 cycles previously. Other parts have also been upgraded to accommodate this new technology.

Of course, the technology is still developing. Providers continue to find ways to improve the Auto-Start/Stop system by creating better methods and more efficient equipment. Mazda, for example, uses i-Stop technology that is completely independent of the starter. Instead, it uses engine combustion to make things move. When the driver releases the brake pedal, a fuel injector in one of the cylinders ignites and ignites a spark plug, starting the engine using combustion, rather than wearing out the electric starter.

Still, you will find many people online telling you how harmful autostart/stop is to your engine. Of course, many of these people are by no means experts and have nothing to use as evidence. Until proven otherwise, it’s safe to assume that modern vehicles are made to withstand the effects of Auto-Start/Stop technology.

How to disable the Auto-Start/Stop technology?

If your vehicle has an automatic start/stop system, there is a way to manually override it. In many cases, a simple push of a button is enough to turn off the technology.

Before disabling the Auto-Start/Stop system, keep in mind that the fuel consumption of the car can be affected by up to five percent. You also have to manually disable it every time you start the vehicle, as the manufacturers have not created a way to permanently override the system.

If you are driving a sports car with a sport or dynamic mode, placing your vehicle in that setting will automatically disable the automatic start/stop system. In this case, you probably don’t care much about fuel economy and are looking for the best possible performance.

If possible, it’s best to leave the Auto-Start/Stop feature enabled, not only to save at the fuel pump, but also to reduce emissions into our atmosphere. Don’t you want to do your part to save our planet?