What happens to the Vehicle When it is in Idling?

The fleet industry earns a lot and makes profits when all its assets keep working on a day-to-day basis. It is important to regulate all your vehicles on a timely basis according to the needs of the users. 

Many fleet businesses commit the crime of keeping certain vehicles idling and using only certain kinds of vehicles. Most vehicles are meant to be running on a road and their frequent use keeps them ready for further endeavors. 

An idling vehicle can experience changes that are not good for the overall health of the vehicle. 

Many fleet owners suggest that they always try to give some road time to each and every fleet truck to improve truck maintenance and reduce fleet idling. 

Some people even keep maintenance reminders and try to create a loop to incorporate every vehicle in the run.

But what can happen to a vehicle that remains Idle for some time? Are there chances of its performance getting hampered? Read this guide to know what happens to an idling vehicle.

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When is a vehicle called to be idling?

In the fleet business, world idling is a very common word and most experienced drivers know the times they have idled their vehicles to save some nanoseconds in the traffic or while waiting for the products to unload.

In idle condition, the vehicle’s engine is kept on while the vehicle does not move with respect to the viewer. 

In such cases, the engine is operated at very minimal power conditions, and the breaks are mostly kept on to stop the vehicle from moving. 

All other supporting systems in the vehicle like fans, music systems, air conditioners, lighters, power circuits, cameras, and other things keep working. 

Some of the major reasons for keeping vehicles idle by many fleet drivers are-

  • Drivers during traffic hours keep vehicles idling to cut down the time.
  • Many drivers believe that starting and stopping the engine, again and again, can damage the vehicle and can eat up more fuel than average.
  • Many drivers while unloading some small loads keep the vehicle at idling so they can move on quickly after unloading.

For how long can you keep your vehicle Idling?

Keeping your vehicles idle for a very small time is not a problem but you must try to eliminate vehicle idling as much as possible. Vehicle idling isn’t appropriate for vehicles no matter for what duration.

As we understand that it is not possible to eliminate vehicle idling completely, so one may ask,  when does the problem start popping in an idling vehicle? 

There is a certain period for which your vehicle does not undergo any specific problem when kept in idle mode but if a vehicle is kept idle for longer durations there are higher chances that the vehicle may undergo partial to complete damage in the mechanical systems.

There is no set time to keep your vehicle idle but as a general figure, you must not exceed the time of idling for more than 5 minutes. 

There are high chances that your vehicle can get several defects if it remains in an idling position for a longer time.

Most people keep their vehicles in idle position because they keep the engine on in traffic jams or while riding on packed roads. 

The drivers think that stopping and restarting the engine, again and again, can damage the vehicles. In fact, this is a myth that car engines get damaged if restarted several times.

 In modern vehicles, you can easily restart the engine again and again and the vehicle does not undergo any problem of any kind. 

The modern engines are engineered in such a way that they are adaptive to multiple restarts compensating for the loss of an idle vehicle.

Things that happen to idle vehicles

An idling vehicle can undergo various changes from partial to complete engine failures. There are high chances that you may affect your engine’s health or battery backup if the vehicle is kept idle for a longer duration. 

Some of the major problems faced by an idle vehicle are mentioned below-


1.Penalty Charges

In many parts of the world, the practice of keeping a vehicle in idle mode is prohibited and considered illegal. The law ensures that you cannot keep a vehicle idle for more than a minute. 

These laws ensure that valuable resources like petroleum are not wasted by keeping vehicles in idle positions. As these resources are getting closer to extinction these laws will become a new normal throughout the world in coming times. 

It is our duty to save the non-renewable resources for the future generation. We should take steps to leave a better world for our children.

2.Bad for the environment

The gases emitted from our vehicles are a major concern to our environment and contribute to the greenhouse gases causing global warming. These gases are also harmful to our respiratory system and body. 

The harmful gases emitted from vehicles contribute to the already increased air pollution and also cause several deadly ailments like cancer and asthma. 

In the case of an idling vehicle, the emission is more concentrated because the engine undergoes a higher load and is more dangerous to the environment. 

You must try to eliminate the possibility of keeping your vehicle idle as much as possible.

3.Deteriorates the Engine Health

The major concern for any vehicle that is kept in an idle position for a longer duration is that the engine may undergo several defects in the exhaust. 

In the case of an idle vehicle, the engine runs at a temperature below the optimal level and as a result of this, the proper oxidation of fuel does not take place.  

This creates more residual than average and can choke up the engine’s exhaust system. It can also damage the temperature adaptability of the engine for a longer duration. 

Slowly the engine stops producing the optimal temperature required for the proper oxidation of fuel and this brings the mileage of the vehicle to lower levels.

4.Deteriorates the battery’s health

Constant idling drains up the battery as there is no charge supply to the battery when the vehicle is kept in an idle position. 

The battery gets drained quickly and this can lead to bad battery backup. You must try not to keep your vehicle idle for longer durations to ensure longer battery backup.

Summing it up

Vehicles remain in the best quality when they are put to the best use. Many people have the tendency to keep their vehicles in idling position. 

Keeping a vehicle in an idling position causes many threats to the environment and also depletes non-renewable resources like petroleum. The engine and battery of the vehicle also suffer massively if kept in an idling position for long. 

The best thing in modern times is to minimize the tendency to keep vehicles in an idling position and make this world a better place to live.

Team VAMOSYS have been into GPS business since 2014 and have good experience on GPS Vehicle Tracking, Fuel Monitoring, Fleet Management and GPS Tracker Devices. Writes article on various topics to share the industry experiences and knowledge.