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Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 07:14 PM   #1
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Leaving the Car Running

Can someone shed light on why some people will leave their cars idling for long periods of time?

I've seen drivers leave the car running for up to 15 minutes while they talk to someone, watch wild animals on the side of the road, check out the waves at a surf spot, wait for road work,or go into a store to get something.

It certainly can't be the effort required to turn the key. I'm guessing either they believe it takes more gas to turn off/on, or it just doesn't cross their minds.

Why do that do that?
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 08:16 PM   #2
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

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Why do that do that?
... makes no sense, of course, so you shouldn't be asking for a rational explanation. but it does remind me of my father telling me that he would leave his car running for hours so it wouldn't freeze-up in the winter. yup, that was many years ago when gas was so cheap one wouldn't even think of it as an expense, and, obviously, before car theft was a major issue.
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 08:28 PM   #3
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

I agree with you....I also cant figure why people keep their cars running when driving down a hill
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 08:31 PM   #4
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

The only thing I can think of is they were dropped on their heads a few too many times as children.

I love the innevitable story each winter about the person that left their car running, ran into a store and their car was stolen!?!
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 08:34 PM   #5
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

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I love the innevitable story each winter about the person that left their car running, ran into a store and their car was stolen!?!
... even better, me thinks, when they locked themselves out of the running car.
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 08:45 PM   #6
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

not saying it makes sense...but here goes...

on occasion, i leave mine running when will be just acouple minutes because i dont like starting my car. NO, not the effort of the key-turn, but it just seems 'easier' on the car to stay idle...not off and on again. Oil to the top of the engine doesnt always come as fast as it should in my 98 maxima(an inherent problem witht he motor), and although the service bulletins say it doesnt matter, i beg to differ. ihad a 98 bonneville motor go due to lack of oil on the top half, so maybe im gun shy

i guess im prolonging the life of my starter too?


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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 09:11 PM   #7
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

The only possible answer in Texas is to keep the a/c running. C'est stoopid, of course, but C'est vrai!!
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-16-2006, 09:13 PM   #8
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras
The only thing I can think of is they were dropped on their heads a few too many times as children.

I love the innevitable story each winter about the person that left their car running, ran into a store and their car was stolen!?!
I used to live near a 7/11 then UDF. I used to walk there on weekend mornings for coffee. There were often running cars there. One cold morning there were 7 vehicles running; new/old large/small. If I ever need a vehicle I know where to go.

BTW, they start leaving vehicles warming up once it gets below 30F, even though the instructions say that it is a bad idea.
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 01:58 AM   #9
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Can someone shed light on why some people will leave their cars idling for long periods of time?*

I've seen drivers leave the car running for up to 15 minutes while they talk to someone, watch wild animals on the side of the road, check out the waves at a surf spot, wait for road work,or go into a store to get something.

It certainly can't be the effort required to turn the key.* I'm guessing either they believe it takes more gas to turn off/on, or it just doesn't cross their minds.

Why do that do that?
I think they are either pro-terrorists or it's Clinton's fault.
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 08:54 AM   #10
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

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Originally Posted by thefed
i guess im prolonging the life of my starter too?
I am sure the crook that ends up with your car will appreciate it

Seriously though, I understand the thought process. I don't think the starter is that dainty.
However, doesn't it seem like a risk to you? Do you leave your wallet on the counter as you grocery shop?
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 09:12 AM   #11
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

My commute is 3 miles. It takes about 6 minutes except for a certain left turn light which can delay me as much a 3 minutes. If I turn the car engine off while waiting that 3 minutes, I get much much better gas mileage for my daily commute. So far, the car has always restarted promptly on the key twist.

Anybody else do this?
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 09:59 AM   #12
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

My understanding is that the Prius shuts off and restarts the gas engine as needed.* Does it have some trick for starting the engine smoothly?
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 11:49 AM   #13
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

In a Prius, the electric motor IS the starter motor--there's no separate starter. According to my understanding, in a traditional car the starter motor has a cog or something that needs to be physically moved to mesh with a cog on the gasoline engine. So a Prius has fewer parts, fewer moving parts (nothing has to move to start the car), fewer points of failure, and less weight. But I'm not biased or anything
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 11:56 AM   #14
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

Interesting point, Astro. I've never liked the concept of a hybrid car, because it contains both a gasoline and an electric engine. But now that you mention it, that's true of all cars -- it's just that with a conventional car, the electric motor is much smaller.
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 12:35 PM   #15
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

My guess is that hybrid improvemetns will reesult in the gas engine getting less powerful (smaller) and electric engine more powerful over time. Perhaps eventually gas will only be burned when passing, speeding, hauling a load, or going uphill. And maybe by then the fuel will be ethanol, biodiesel, something derived from coal, or hydrogen. I hope I live to see it!
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 12:39 PM   #16
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

Hybrid...
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 12:39 PM   #17
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

The GM truck hybrids don't use the electric motor for propulsion but have a big starter/generator that can spin up the motor quickly so the motor can shut down at each stop. The previous hybrids do the same as well as have the electric motor take some of the propulsion load. So yeah they can start/stop the motor pretty smoothly.

A 6-minute communte, especially divided into two 3-minute commutes, can wear down your oil and engine much more quickly than longer drives since the engine never gets to proper operating temperature. Another feature of many hybrids is that they leave the engine running at least until it gets to operating temp and then turn it off/on as needed. So a hybrid probably wouldn't shut its engine off during your commute. I hope you take the car on longer trips at least once or twice a week.

As for leaving the car running, I'm guilty of having done it during the Texas summer in the heat for the A/C. Especially when my company was paying for the gas and I was eating a fast food lunch in the car. Yeah, I could've gone in to eat, but my car had my radio and everything else I might be interested in during the work day, and I was alone anyway.

But I rarely leave the car running when unattended. I did it when living in Indy when it was really cold, but I had the keys where I could lock the care while it was running.
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 01:41 PM   #18
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

The big thing here in Minnesota is the remote starter. A lot of guys at work park in a parking lot accross the street and down below our building. Before they leave start the cars remotely so they are warm when they get to the lot.
pretty nice for those who aren't high enough on the totem pole to get heated parking.


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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 01:59 PM   #19
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

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Originally Posted by astromeria
And maybe by then the fuel will be ethanol, biodiesel, something derived from coal, or hydrogen. I hope I live to see it!
Provided someone can figure out a way to make those products with less energy and fossil fuels than the most of the products contain themselves. Right now, it's all about political correctness.
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Re: Leaving the Car Running
Old 09-17-2006, 04:32 PM   #20
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Re: Leaving the Car Running

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Originally Posted by AltaRed
Provided someone can figure out a way to make those products with less energy and fossil fuels than the most of the products contain themselves. Right now, it's all about political correctness.
I'd say it's mostly about starting the hard work to get where we need to go. Except for ethanol, which seems to be more about getting votes in the Iowa caucuses and other corn-y states
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