Saving gas- turn car off at lights?

I've heard from many people that one of the best ways to save gas is to turn off the car while idle at a light. I would only do this for those long lights in our town that are two minutes.

However, isn't it AWFUL for your motor to keep turning off and on? The car is a 05 Camry, and we have an Accord as well- not big cars.

Any tips?

8 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The minuscule amount of fuel saved by turning off the engine at a light isn't worth the wear and tear on the engine and starter motor.

  • 5 years ago

    in most cases switching an engine off and back on can save fuel but it does take a small amount more fuel to restart than to idle depending on time left idling etc. more than 3 minutes its best to switch off . do NOT rev engine on restarting as you have wasted any savings. have you thought about the additional wear caused by the starter motor being used this way> it will wear the starter ring teeth and motor out much quicker and over time when one or both fail cost you far more than any savings over a year or tow in fuel. unless you are stopped for more than 5 Min's its most probably not a good idea ot keep switching off. It is however illegal over here to leave a vehicle unattended with the engine running although they turn a blind eye to van drivers doing drops if they can SEE the driver nearby. put it in P when you stop as this locks the transmission up and will stop and rolling on an incline whereas neutral can allow it to roll if the parking brake fails etc.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is only awful on the engine when it has been sitting for a while and it is cold and all the oil has drained into the pan. If it has only been sitting for a minute or two, the engine should still be well lubricated. Some hybrids like the Prius do this constantly and I haven't heard of any major problems.

  • Woody
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I have read that with a fuel injected engine shutting the engine off at any stop over 10 seconds will save gas.

    I have been doing this at long lights (1 min plus) and for trains. This is relatively infrequent, so I doubt it will reduce starter life.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Thas insane. Please dont do that.

    Think about how many times you stop at lights while driving duirng the day. Dozens of times i bet. That will wear out your starter very fast. Also it will drain your battery down. Not to mention that starting your car actually uses up more gas than letting it idle.

    They call it hypermiling, and frankly some of the things people are doing are quite dangerous. They include what you mentioned to even shutting the engine off while going downhill and more crazy stuff. Its very dangerous.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Its not worth it. Really. As someone else said that is considered part of Hypermiling which is a new trend people have came up with to try to save gas, and hypermiling is rather dangerous. Law Enforcement is catching onto this.

    Also it is bad for your car and you really arent going to save anymore gas from it. It actually takes quite a bit of gas to start a car, thus repeatedly starting it is going to cost you in the long run.

  • Ken E
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It will not hurt the engine. What will hurt is to try to start the engine when it is running already which is possible to do when doing this procedure. I have installed vacuum switches in the wire going the starter relay to prevent this. I've done this for the ground support equipment for an airline where the engines are shut down and started 100's of times a day. Starters wear out sooner when doing this.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    not all that bad for your engine, but on the whole isn't saving you all that much....

    maybe it'll save some at very long lights, but don't waste your time and concentration on this during the short lights...

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