Truck Idling Impacts and Solutions

Why do vehicle manufacturers recommend you shouldn’t let your engine idle very often?

And what is the reason behind the truckers, as in fleet drivers leave their engine idle?

Idling refers to the vehicle remaining in a stationary position when the engine power is on. It is a part of the process while driving and typical in situations like waiting in traffic conditions, checking posts, delivering packages to doorsteps, and rest times. 

The Driver never idles as it builds up so much heat inside the vehicle, and for every 10 minutes of idling, the temperature rises to 4 degrees. As a result, it becomes challenging for drivers to stay inside the truck. 

There are various reasons for idling, heavy-duty vehicles used in construction sites and mining industries, called utility trucks. Their work is to carry the loads with the engine running. It is like diverting power from the engine to separate equipment that is attached to the vehicle. This process is called PTO (Process Take Off). And also, whenever a driver needs a rest during the trip, HVAC-like vehicles need to idle in order to maintain a steady temperature.

And fleet managers also should note the difference between the actual idle time and work idle time. For example, some jobs require cranes, bulldozers, tractors, etc., to do fieldwork. At that time, a vehicle uses equipment to utilize engine power, which is called work idle time. In the same way, when a vehicle doesn’t use any equipment and leaves the engine running, this is known as true idle time. How is it possible to find this difference?

Diesel engines play an essential role in the transport industry. Therefore, the impact of diesel exhaust becomes a major concern by considering various parameters like human health and air quality. Generally, long-haul trucks routinely idle overnight for air conditioning and heating. In addition, based on weather conditions like the winter season, truck drivers idle their vehicles before heading to the trip. But keeping your engine idle in winter can do more harm than good. So let’s dive deep into the problems associated with idling.

1. Wastage of Fuel

With the rising prices, Idling wastes fuel and eats your profits. The amount of fuel used is based on the vehicle type, engine type, and the type of fuel it consumes. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than the engine turns off and on. The US and other countries have anti-idling laws that a vehicle shouldn’t idle for more than 3 minutes, and there will be a penalty imposed on drivers who cross the limit. Every fleet manager must know the cost of idling is more than the fuel price.

2. Engine Wear

The impact of idling causes the engine to break down. When Idling engine at low RPM, damage to internal vehicle parts is likely more compared to running the engine at regular speed. Excessive idling builds up carbon residue to settle over the engine as the engine is not running at the ideal temperature, leaving fuel to combust partially. It damages the engine by increasing maintenance costs and causing damage to the entire vehicle leading to vehicle downtime.

3. Environmental pollution

Experts say that a vehicle should never idle excessively as it can cause unwanted carbon emissions and shorten the engine’s life. Idling emits 20 times more pollution than a vehicle travelling 30 miles an hour. During Idling time, the emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide causes health problems and affects air quality. All these emissions have a negative impact on global climatic change, ozone holes, air pollution and health aspects as well.

4. Driver's health risk

Drivers were sitting for an extended period of time when idling poses a severe health risk. This is because they are continuously exposed to pollution without proper airflow, and noise levels are high compared to the vehicle which is in movement. In addition, it generates more heat compared to the outside temperature.

How to reduce truck Idling intelligently?

Installing APUs (Auxiliary Power Unit) in the vehicles helps autonomously cut off the main engine when the vehicle idles and takes over the charging system. Thus, it prevents unnecessary fuel consumption and protects internal components to last longer. 

Choosing Hybrid technology vehicles is another option as it shuts down the power when the vehicle is not in motion and provides the ability to run small power tools from the battery. Hence, it prevents noise pollution and emissions, providing a safer environment. 

Selection of Telematics that suits your business

With the growth of technology in the logistics sector, all the tasks in managing operations have become easy and error-free. Thanks to digitalisation and Saas products. 

Opting for vehicle tracking software isn’t a big deal, but you must be wise to select the software when you need a detailed report. FleetOS provides detailed idle reports with live monitoring tools. 

Vamosys FleetOS software provides a comprehensive solution for all the fleet problems and makes fleet management easy. FleetOS serves as an administrative app to assign trips, and drivers communicate with fleet owners through the Vamosys DRS app. These FMS apps help track live location, monitor fuel usage, and generate every trip report digitally.

Rewarding your drivers with Incentives

Recognition and reward are important factors to boost your drivers for their achievements. 

Why not reward your drivers through incentives for each fleet operation they complete?

Incentivizing helps them to get engaged with their work and stay motivated to complete the task eventually. In addition, it stimulates them to give better performance for more rewards and reduce their mistakes in handling vehicle. 

In return, what are the benefits of providing reward points for your drivers?

  1. Commitment to the safe driving 
  2. Increase in Productivity 
  3. No smartphone distracted driving 
  4. Reduces fuel cost 
  5. Non-stop trips without vehicle downtime
  6. Your Driver’s don’t endanger your company’s reputation 
  7. Reduce unnecessary Idling

It never hurts to have a little more motivation. So it can be pretty helpful to have a driver awareness or rewards program to encourage voluntary idle reduction. First, it informs the drivers that idling is a problem that must be addressed. Second, by giving a little reward to it, the drivers may be more likely to comply.

Sushanthi is a Content Writer who wishes to be the voice of brands to project their innovative ideas and stories through her writing skills.