start stop

Does Auto-Start/Stop Wear Out Engine Components?

In Electric by Josh S0 CommentsLast Updated: May 19th, 2019

auto start stopPeople will say just about anything nowadays to prove their point. In the process, they will not only further confuse themselves but also convolute your mind on a subject.

They will argue about the quality of fuel you should put in your car, about the amount of pressure you should have in your car’s tires and even weigh the merits and demerits of the auto-stop/start technology. While you cannot be a judge of what’s right and what’s wrong you can certainly learn the truth from the internet.

That’s where this article comes into the spotlight. So, does the auto-start/stop technology harm your engine and its components? Let’s find out!

What Is Auto-Stop/Start Technology?

Before we talk about the start/stop tech in detail, let us take a look at its history and its importance.

The auto-start/stop system first came into the automobile world in the 1980s when Volkswagen used it in its spearhead vehicles like the Passat and the Golf. The technology did not take-off initially but nowadays we can see it in almost every other automobile no matter its size.

Why is technology so popular now as compared to before? It is because the world is focused more on saving the environment. When fuel burns, harmful chemicals and gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are excreted. These gases are choking the environment day by day.

Scientists and engineers have been trying to reduce gas consumption by employing advanced methods to improve aerodynamics, engine design, and vehicle design. They did realize a very trivial fact later that if an engine is not running it is not producing any life-threatening gases. The auto-start/stop technology is the realization and practical application of this fact.

The auto-start/stop technology shuts off the engine completely when a vehicle comes to a halt. The engine reignites automatically once you decide to start moving again. This innovation only comes handy if you have quite a few stops along your way. On highway driving, you won’t save any fuel.

However, the majority of driving that everyone does is on city roads so there is something to be gained from the use of this technology. Even though the start/stop action saves a small percentage of fuel, in the long run, it can make a considerable difference to your fuel expenses.

How Does the Start-Stop Technology Work?

start stopThere are quite a few companies making such tech but the most popular one amongst them all is Denso. You might recognize Denso if you have ever worked with your car’s air-conditioning system. The Japanese company supplies the auto-start/stop technology to all the major American automobile brands like Ford and also to other worldwide car manufacturers.

The auto-start/stop system senses that you have depressed the brakes and that the RPM is coming to a rest. Once it senses that you have come to a halt, the system shuts down the engine. It restarts the engine back again once you remove your foot from the brake.

Difference between Regular Starter and Auto Start

Every car has an ignition or starter to fire up the engine. The starter does that through a very simple process that involves engaging the flywheel to spin and igniting the engine. However, this simple mechanical system is not viable for regular starts.

The auto-start/stop technology involves starting the engine many times during a drive. Hence, a different component is used entirely. This other component can handle hundreds of starts in a day without feeling the heat.

Damage to the Vehicle

A vehicle’s engine is vulnerable when it starts. The engine has to heat up the lubricants inside it so that they can flow easily to every nook and cranny. A cold engine is more prone to damage and that is what many people argue about when talking of the stop/start technology. Yes, the engine can get damaged if it is cold but the auto-start/stop technology only engages once the car is on the road. That only happens once the engine has warmed up to its operational temperature.

Even if you are standing at a stop light for about a minute that is not enough time to cool the engine lubricants. Hence, the auto-start/stop technology does not do much damage. In the event that you have to stay stagnant for a longer time, the system is designed to start the engine automatically if it senses that the lubricants are getting cold.

Furthermore, the technology does not allow all the oil to retreat back into the oil pan, so when the car restarts there is already a significant amount of fluid left in the engine chamber. Even then, to further reduce wear of the engine, engineers are now using dry lubricants in key areas like the engine bearings. Modern engine bearings have been designed to withstand plenty of restarts even if there is no oil to reduce friction.

Is There A Way Round It?

Frankly, saving the environment is every human’s responsibility. It is better if we as responsible human beings use the systems put in place by experts to reduce the harmful effects on the environment. However, not everyone thinks that way. Some people prefer less technology over technology dominance and they do not like such innovations. Car manufacturers respect that and as such, they always provide a manual override to the system.

If you do not like using the technology you can shut down its functions by just pressing a button. This button allows you to switch between using and not using the auto-start/stop functionality. You might not want to keep the brakes depressed with your foot while standing at a stop light. Engineers have even solved that by providing you a separate button which allows you to keep the tech in play while also keeping your foot off the brakes.

Conclusion

So, does the auto-start/stop technology hurt your engine? Yes, it does, but not to an extent that you might get worried about it. The system has been designed to keep engine wear at a minimum while keeping your content.

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