Thursday, June 28, 2007

Attention car people...

( that would be like Dad and JADO....)

This site which explains how to treat your non-hybrid car as a hybrid sounds like a marvelous idea and a great way to help the environment. Tell me why I'm wrong. Do I need to worry about damage to my engine? What about the battery? There are some traffic lights down here that can last for two or three minutes or longer.

This, of course, is all while I save up for my new dream car, which sounds positively awesome.


Jado said...

Meh. I have no hard facts to back me up, but I believe that the emissions from constantly starting your car would be much worse than idling. The engine is already running, which means your back-pressure and catalytic converter are already up to operating specs. Without these processes up to speed, the exhaust is probably spitting out more emissions than during the idle phase.

Think of the difference between the exhaust of a semi during usual highway speeds and the black gunk that spits out when it's just starting out. In a smaller way, this is most likely what is happening in the start-up phase of a car engine.

You will save gas, but you will spit out more exhaust. So what is your goal - save money or save the planet?

JAM said...

JADO, I was actually hoping for more. Specifically in the fact department... I mean, anyone could say, "Well, it probably wouldn't work." But the site I sent had government studies (admittedly, the Canadian Government...) and I was looking for, "No, JAM, don't be turning you car on and off, because it will damage the torque converter [or insert the name of some equally fake sounding part that I wouldn't know if it was real or not.]"

But just, "Nah, probably not?" Come on, Man... this is the planet we're talking about... We need it... it's where I keep all my stuff...

Jado said...

Sorry it took so long to reply to this - life is crazy sometimes.

OK. The starting phase of your car engine involves completing the circuit (via your key & the ignition) between your battery and your starter. Your starter is essentially a big electrically-motivated hand crank, that turns the engine until the sparks from your plugs start igniting your gas. Then the gas cycle takes over, and your engine turns cause thousands of gas explosions per minute are turning your crankshaft via the pistons.

So during the start phase, you are not burning gas, but spitting unburned gas out into the atmosphere. The Canadians say that it's not as bad as running your engine, so I'll beleive them (Canadians don't lie - it's impolite). BUT - your oil has not been circulating, cause your oil pump runs off the engine turning. Your coolant hasn't been circulating either, for the same reason. So when you start the engine, you induce more wear on the piston rings because you don't have circulating oil, and you induce more corrosion and scale in your coolant system cause you don't have circulating coolant. Over time, these will make your engine run less efficiently, making the problem progressively worse. This is why you need to change your oil and flush your coolant periodically - cause things break down.

Short term, I think this will save you a lot on gas. Long term, you will wear out your rings faster, and turn your car into a beater before it's time. And if you don't practice regualr maintenance, you're playing russian roulette with your engine.

All of this also applies to your transmission as well. So yes, the torque converter will be damaged faster.

So, save gas, but trash your car faster? Which is better for the planet?