Stop-Start Systems May Be Good For the Environment But Bad For Your Car

Also, skip the drive-through and park your car to save fuel. Automologist MAC explains. 

Automatic Stop-Start technology began to appear on cars quite a few years ago. It is basically a sensor that automatically stops the engine when your car is sitting in a jam and the engine is idle (ticking over). The first time this happened to me in a hire car, I thought I had stalled the engine and even now, many years later, when my car automatically shuts down, I still have that moment of panic before a smug sense of saving the planet calms me. But do auto-shut-offs actually reduce fuel consumption and will all the extra stop-start damage your engine?

Well, on one hand, just about every study that I have read would indicate that the savings can be considerable, up to 0.6 litres for every ten minutes of idling, in fact. If you are worried about the amount of fuel it takes to restart your car, fret no more as it transpires that it takes just 15 seconds of fuel to restart your engine. So, instead of waiting at the drive-through, park and go inside the restaurant, right?

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So, we save fuel, but what about damage to the rest of the engine? Are we shortening the life of the car? Most experts are in complete agreement that start-stop technology will create more engine wear and they also agree on the need to take measures to stop this excessive damage. The starter motors are traditionally manufactured to be able to last about 50,000 starts in their “lifetime”. But now this number has to be increased by a factor of ten. And to counter the additional strain on the starter motor, they are being built tougher and should last up to 500,000 starts.

There is a problem, though. About 95% of engine damage comes when you first start your car. None more so than the additional stress, strain and wear that will occur on the engine’s bearings. What is more, the crankshaft, which is usually the biggest and heaviest part of your engine, is supported as it spins a number of precision ground journals in the main bearing—no balls nor bearings, just smooth metal.

In a normal operation, these metal surface don’t actually come into contact as they are separated by a super thin film of oil that is being pressured fed around the crankcase in a process that is known as hydrodynamic lubrication. As soon as the engine stops, so does this process; the oil drains away and the metal surfaces come into contact. On re-start and before the engine has had time to pump oil into the area, the crank has started spinning. There are specialist companies, such as the X-1R Corporation, who have been developing complex chemical cocktails of additive packages for oil for many years. It is no secret that the likes of NASA turn to the X-1R Corporation to help them solve lubrication issues.

In a nutshell, X1-R has developed a range of their very own esters that have proven themselves to have world-leading ability to reduce friction. And more than this, they have been shown to also increase the oil film durability. What this all means is that when using the X-1R Engine Treatment the chance of metal-to-metal contact is greatly reduced and additionally there will be a marked reduction in the coefficient of friction in your engine. This all leads to less wear and tear and reduced fuel consumption as well. You can find out much more about the X-1R range of products at www.x1rasia.com. It has to be worth taking a quick look.

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