By now, most of us would have been aware of the efforts by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to clamp down on motorists who leave their engine running after they have parked their vehicle.
Having been in place since 2008 under the revised edition of the Environmental Protection And Management Act, motorists who are caught leaving their engines on while their vehicle is stationary by NEA officers face summons of up to $5,000.
Apart from causing pollution, sitting in the comfort of your car’s air-conditioning could cause your vehicle more damage than you thought possible. How then, does your vehicle pay the price for your creature comforts?
From a logical point of view, when you leave your engine idling you get 0km/L and you burn even more fuel with the air-condition on. Escaping the heat by sitting in your car with the air-condition on will put the engine under load, and work the engine harder even though you’re not driving anywhere. In addition, unnecessary cylinder firing and belt moving is inducing wear on those parts in your engine. By doing so, you are not only wasting your precious fuel but also increasing the rate of your engine’s wear and tear.
Engine oil contamination
When idling, your engine does not work at its peak temperature and this causes incomplete fuel combustion. This leaves fuel residue that can condense on cylinder walls, which poses a risk of engine oil contamination and damage to parts of the engine. For example, fuel residue is often deposited on the spark plugs. As you spend more time idling, the average temperature of the spark plug drops. This causes the plug to get dirty at a faster rate, which increases fuel consumption by up to four or five percent. Last but not least, the petrol can contaminate your engine oil, which reduces its lubricating qualities.
Exhaust system corrosion
As your engine runs at a lesser than ideal operating temperature during idling, this causes water vapour – a product of combustion to accumulate in the exhaust system, which in turn leads to corrosion. Also, engine idling produces about 10 to 12 percent more exhaust emissions than driving for the same amount of petrol used, due to incomplete combustion and ineffective operation of the catalytic converter.
You can avoid all these fines, fuel and repair costs by simply winding down your windows and enjoying whatever little breeze our skies provide. It may not sound very enjoyable but neither is the sound of a failing engine.
By Nigel Yong, sgCarMart, 22 July 2015