Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine: Does It Impact Its Longevity?

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine: Does It Impact Its Longevity?

Auto start stop is an automatic system that cuts off the car engine during a pause. The stop-start system aims to reduce emissions and the rate of fuel consumption. Resumption of the engine occurs with the engagement of the transmission and brake release or when the driver accelerates. If you are wondering is auto start stop bad for engine, here is your answer

Auto start-stop is bad for the engine, especially in constant use. The engine bearing is the biggest threat the auto start poses to the engine. A high number of start-stop cycles can cause wear or friction, bristling the bearings or even cracking them. 

Though the auto start system solves the need for reducing tailpipe emissions, especially in stagnant traffic, and the reduction of fuel consumption. It is not entirely safe for the car engine, and extended use reduces its longevity. This article exposes the disadvantages of auto-start systems.

Auto Start

Sometimes traffic jams can halt a driver for minutes, even hours. During such a situation, the auto start helps solve the issue of fuel consumption while the car is idle. Most car users see the use of auto start as a fuel-saving measure, yet some do not fully understand it.

Auto start is a car system that automatically ignites the car engine after it shuts down for a while. The auto start usually happens after the auto stop disrupts the car engine from running after a few minutes of idleness

Once the brake of the car releases or the clutch is engaged, the engine ignites and is ready to accelerate. The auto start mechanism revives the shut-down combustion engine when the car is on a low throttle load, reducing gradients, or slowing down from a high speed.

The effect of the auto start system is felt more by long-distance drivers. The fuel-saving capacity is more significant for long trips involving traffic jams or long waits on a jammed-up route. While it saves fuel and emissions, it is not all suitable for the durability of the car engine. However, manufacturers are working on fortifying the engine against the effects caused by the auto start-stop.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine

Auto Stop Eliminator

The auto stop system can be a pain sometimes, especially if the slowing down of the vehicle is in short intervals, and there is no inbuilt mechanism to turn off the auto stop permanently. Instead, one can temporarily turn it off. But, with an auto stop eliminator, like the name, the auto stop is gone.

Auto stop eliminators are aftermarket products that can turn the auto stop-start feature off when installed in the vehicle and retain your preference while driving. The auto eliminator device removes the need to disable the auto-stop system manually in the car after igniting the vehicle.

With the auto eliminator, there are no pauses at a stop. One can keep driving after slowing down. The negative impact of the auto stop-start on the car engine is out, and the car durability increases.

The fear of false starts becomes a thing of the past. As much as the auto stop-start has advantages, it is also incompatible with most people, which is why the auto eliminator exists.

Stop Start Warning Light

Like most car parts, there is always an indication when a problem occurs. The stop-start warning indications use lights and symbols depending on the car brand and model. These warnings do not indicate a bad engine but rather a fault with the start-stop system. Here are some of the symbols and lights and what they signify.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine, Warning Lights: #1. Circle/Double Arrow

This is the main icon representing the start-stop system. It indicates if the system is active or inactive. The fault sign always shows close to the circular arrow, which might be an exclamation mark or any other symbol.

The device stops functioning when there is a fault with the auto start-stop system. It does not affect the standard functionality of the vehicle, it just deactivates the stop feature, and the car returns to its normal default.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine, Warning Lights: #2. Eco

The appearance of Eco around the auto start feature indicates that the system is adding to the vehicle’s fuel economy. This symbol indicates that the feature is active. Most times, the indicators distract the driver from the other indicators on the dashboard because they are always on while driving.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine, Warning Lights: #3. Green Color

The auto start symbol going green indicates that the feature is ready to restart.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine, Warning Lights: #4. Yellow Light

Fault indicators in auto start warning lights always come in yellow. The yellow or amber color often has other initials showing the exact fault.

It is essential to take note of the auto start warning lights and symbols to take good care of the vehicle. Proper attention to detail might eliminate the risk of any accidents due to negligence. These warning lights and signs may differ in vehicle types or with time. Check your vehicle manual to be thoroughly sure what your’s signify.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine

Start Stop System

Most modern cars come with the start-stop feature to help save fuel when the vehicle is stationary for a while but still needs to move at a moment’s notice. This feature is the start-stop system, and it is in both manual and automatic vehicles.

When the car comes to a stagnant position while the engine is still running due to a brake depression, or gear in a neutral position, the auto start-stop feature kicks in. the feature shuts the engine down but not completely. It disrupts the transmission and reduces the engine’s fuel usage.

Clicking on the auto stop-start button on the dashboard can activate the feature, even though it is an ignition automated feature. While in a stationary position, the engine runs on a very low minimal or no power transmission. Once clutch disengagement or brake lifts, the stop-start system will detect and deactivate automatically.

With manual cars, the deactivation detection occurs once the gear is out of neutral position or the transmission is in neutral. The dashboard button will also work. With the start-stop system inactive, the car can now accelerate.

The idea of the stop-start system is to save excess fuel use while the car is idle and reduce the emissions the vehicle gives out. Note that the stop-start system works when all car conditions are perfect. HVAC systems can disrupt the system due to excess heat or cold. Sometimes the disruption occurs to prevent complete battery drain or overload.

Start Stop Technology

The technology behind the start-stop system is not a very complex one. It uses motion and load condition detecting technology to control the feature. At the detection of the car in a stationary position, the device cuts off the fuel delivery and spark to the car engine.

Although the engine is cut-off entirely to avoid getting cold, in some cars, the amount of torque will be minimal to maintain a heat level while the engine is entirely off. Once the clutch disengages, the fuel supply to the engine goes back to normal, and the car accelerates.

The start-stop technology uses electric starter motors to engage the gears around the engine flywheel. Though different vehicle models use more powerful and fast reaction motors backed up with a high-voltage electrical system and ample battery storage, the mechanism is still the same.

Some auto start-stop systems are suitable for handling sudden acceleration immediately after slowing down (Tandem Solenoid). For example, when traffic moves unexpectedly after a slow pace.

In this situation, the engine is already in the process of stopping but spinning. So the car can avoid a breakdown, the solenoid helps the starter motor merge with the engine speed before the gear smoothens out.

Start Stop Technology Disadvantages

Yes, the start-stop technology aims to save fuel use and reduce emissions. While it works to some extent in accomplishing these goals, it also has drawbacks or disadvantages. These drawbacks include.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine: #1. Engine Wear

There is a risk of engine wear due to the higher number of starts and stops in the vehicle’s life span. Without the start-stop device active, a car has about 50,000 stop-start occurrences in its life. But with the device, this number goes exponentially high as 500,000.

This number is a huge difference and an enormous weight on the vehicle engine’s crankshaft and bearing. The crankshaft and bearing are vital components of the engine, the crankshaft spins along the bearings, and the bearings are often close to the starter motor.

Typically, the crankshaft and the bearing do not come in contact. A thin oil film separates the two by a hydrodynamic lubrication process, and with each engine stop, the crank will settle on the bearing, causing a contact. When the engine starts, the two surfaces grind together at a point before getting separated by the oil film.

It is at the point of contact that the harm occurs. The wear occurs faster due to the number of starting and stopping times. Instead of a 50,000 contact time, there will be a 500,000 contact time between the crankshaft and the engine’s bearing. Any standard bearing will wear out over and over again.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine: #2. Quick Battery Life Exhaustion

The constant stopping and igniting of the engine take a toll on the car battery life. The car user will need a more prominent and higher voltage to perform the work that a lower battery will do. This need increases the cost of the battery the user buys.

There also might not be enough recharge time for the battery due to constant starts and stops, which can significantly reduce the battery life. The average expectancy for a battery replacement is four years, but using an auto start-stop will reduce this life span by almost half.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine: #3. Sluggish Acceleration

The car’s engine might find it hard to make sharp immediate accelerations after a stop and start. The motor might need time to throttle and deliver fuel and spark to move swiftly. This delay can irritate the driver and even other road users.

Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine: #4. No Significant Fuel Saving

There is no significant amount of fuel saving done by the start-stop system, especially when on the freeway with little chance of stopping in traffic for a long time. The odd is that one experiences four minutes of congestion during a 40km drive. The amount of fuel saved during the 5-minute stop is almost insignificant to the wear on the engine.

Auto Start Stop Not Working

Like all car devices, at a point, they might lose functionality. There are several reasons why the auto start-stop system might stop working, but the most dominant one is battery reasons. The battery is the major component of the start-stop device, and the system not working might be due to a fault in the interaction between the car battery.

Check the battery if it is on a low charge. A low charge will switch off the start-stop device. The battery might also be wrong and provides a low charging cycle before exhaustion. Also, check the temperature of the car. The fan or AC uses the battery to power itself, which might eat into the battery power and turn off the start-stop device.

Engine Heat

Another reason is the engine temperature. It can be too low or high and requires a higher current to start the engine. Always watch out for the radiators and engine fans to avoid such.

Other factors include:

  • No seat belt wearing.
  • Improper closing of car doors.
  • Active packing assistance.
  • A significant gradient curve.

If the auto start-stop system is not working as it should, best call a professional to fix it or replace it.

Start Stop Battery

While most standard batteries will require a lot of energy and still discharge fast, the start-stop battery can handle the device’s needs. A start-stop battery is a battery type built with the energy requirements of an auto start-stop technology in mind. 

A standard car battery is generally used as a one-time role, start the car and run it till arrival. They tend to discharge quickly and recharge through the car alternator during the journey. However, the start-stop battery is not like that.

The start-stop system in a car stops and starts frequently. This system means the car battery works for as much as an engine starts. The start-stop battery will endure the load of constant ignition, still, control other electronics in the car, and uses regenerative braking to convert the kinetic energy to electrical energy.

The recharge rate is high-speed and uses battery management systems to optimize battery use. It is better to use a start-stop battery if one has an auto-start system in the car. Always call on professional mechanics while installing the battery or the starter to avoid damage.

Auto Start-Stop System Facts:

  1. Auto start-stop system saves fuel wasted while idling in traffic, which costs commuters an average of $1,010 per year.
  2. 54 hours of commuters’ time are wasted annually in traffic, and 3.8 billion gallons of fuel were lost to traffic in 2017.
  3. The auto start-stop system doesn’t turn off the engine completely, but instead disengages the transmission, shifting it to neutral.
  4. The auto start-stop system is activated when the vehicle is at a stop and the brake is pressed, and it will not activate when the AC or heater is on or the engine has not reached the ideal temperature.
  5. The system won’t damage the starter, which is more robust and overbuilt than conventional starters.
  6. Auto start-stop is better for engines than constant idling and may even extend the engine’s life for some people.
  7. Auto start-stop won’t interfere with the ability to steer or brake.
  8. The amount of gas saved by the auto start-stop system depends on driving patterns and can save up to 5% of the current gas usage.
  9. The usefulness of auto start-stop depends on individual driving scenarios, and it can be disabled if it is not suitable.
  10. Aftermarket autostop eliminators can be used to turn off the auto start-stop system permanently, as manufacturers do not provide a way to do so.

FAQs On Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine

Here are some popular FAQs:

When Does Auto Start-Stop Automatically Shutdown The Engine

Auto start-stop automatically shuts down the car engine when the car is at a complete stop and stays idle for a few seconds more. The stopping of the engine can save up to 3-5% of fuel in a traffic congestion situation. With accelerator pressure, the engine will turn back on.

Is Remote Start Bad For Your Car

Remote start is not bad for your car if you are using a suitable model for your vehicle. That is the manufacturer model type. Using the wrong model can lead to wear of the engine bearings and battery lifespan depletion.

What Is Auto Start Stop

Auto start-stop is an automatic car system that identifies when a car is in a stationary position for a while, cuts off, and restores the power going to the engine to conserve fuel and reduce emissions. The auto start-stop system uses the car battery to ignite the car after a stop.

Does Auto Stop Save Gas

Auto Stop saves gas to some extent. According to the society of automotive engineers, Auto Stop saves vehicle fuel economy by almost eight percent when in heavy traffic. When in light traffic, the fuel efficiency is negligible.

What Engine Does My Car Have

Identifying the type of engine your car has is very simple. The engine type is in the VIN, and the VIN is always under your vehicle’s hood. It is an eight-digit number containing all information about the engine. You can use a VIN decoder on a VIN decoder website to interpret the numbers.

How To Start A Car With A Bad Starter

To start a car with a faulty starter, examine the starter connections to determine if there are loose electrical connections. If there are any, fix the bad connection. In the absence of one, then try to jump-start the car. If the problem persists, you can check the solenoids and the ground connections or lightly hit the starter with a hammer to spark it up. If all these fail, consider pushing the car and engaging the gear while it is in motion to jump the starter.

How Much Does A Starter Cost

A new starter costs an average of $80 to $350, depending on the car model type. This cost is without labor. The labor cost is about $150 to $1000, depending on whether it is a complete starter or partial replacement. It is essential to use a qualified technician for the replacement to avoid causing further damage.

What Is The Main Function Of An Engine Cut-Off Switch

An engine cut-off switch shuts off the engine when the engine switch refuses to work. It is a safety mechanism for emergency use. The engine cut-off switch is usually seen in power boats and often helps prevent further damage to the engine.

Why Does My Car Turn Off When I Stop

Your car might be shutting down due to engine sensitivity to idleness. This sensitivity is often due to a bad fuel mixture, a faulty throttle, or a broken torque converter. Transmitter’s low fuel level can also cause this predicament. When this happens, then the car is due to see a mechanic.

How Long Does A Starter Last

The average number of starts for a new starter is 80,000, although this value isn’t fixed. The climate usually affects starters. Starters in the warmer region will last longer than those in the cold area. This proves why car starter troubles are more frequent in cold and hot seasons. Expect your starter to stay for at least 100,000 to 150,000 miles before developing faults.

How Does A Starter Work

The starter motor is connected to the battery through a solenoid. Turning the key in your ignition sends electricity through the solenoid and into the starter motor. The solenoid moves the starter gear towards the engine flywheel. The starter motor turns the crankshaft (attached to the flywheel) until it turns fast enough to start your engine. When the battery dies, electricity stops flowing through the solenoid and into the starter motor. This means that no power is going into your engine, and you can’t start it up again until you replace either your battery or your solenoid (or both).

What Causes A Starter To Burn Out

A worn-out battery, rusty electrical connections, overheating, and dirty motor can cause a starter to burn out. These problems often come due to residues of dirt and metal components in the motor. It can also be due to poor insulation of the wires. It is essential to do a routine check on the starter to avoid getting stranded.

How Do I Find Out What My Car Is Equipped With

Using the VIN is the perfect way to find out what your car came with. The VIN is always on the car engine under the hood. Input the number to any car database website; all car specs will show. You can also call the car dealership armed with the VIN or the manufacturer.

What Does Idle Engine Mean

An idle engine is when a car engine is at a standstill or not in motion, but the engine is still running. This idleness usually happens during traffic congestion or while the driver is waiting for the passenger. It is always best to turn off the engine if it stays idle for more than 10 seconds to save it from wear. If you are not in transit, turn off the engine.

Conclusion On Is Auto Start Stop Bad For Engine

With the government cracking down on car makers about emissions, traffic congestion due to overpopulation, and the fuel economy rising to the roof. The use of Auto start-stop starters has become routine. The technology is spreading wider and becoming an everyday use for car owners.

Is auto start stop bad for engine? Unfortunately, auto start use is not very good for car engines. It increases the level of wear a car engine will have and reduces its lifespan significantly. However, it also saves a percentage of fuel and reduces the emission level of a vehicle.

1 Comment

  1. JohnIL

    Finally, some logic to this BS Start/Stop technology. Yes, when engines shut down you lose oil pressure and coolant circulation. Yes, a few high dollar performance engines have aux. electrical pumps for coolant flow. But mostly the concern here is loss of oil pressure and heat soak from loss of coolant flow. Remember both coolant and oil dissipate heat and oil’s main job is lubricating critical bearing and surfaces in the engine. Can’t tell me this doesn’t affect wear when for as long as combustion engines were made starting up was a big wear event. You were better off limiting your startups as much as possible. Yes, obviously oils have improved as well as engines. But saving a miniscule amount, of emissions and fuel does not add up when engine wear is at risk. I would rather idle my engine in heavy traffic then have it constantly start and stop.


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