If you have recently purchased a new vehicle that features stop/start technology, you might be wondering how exactly it can save you fuel?
In the past, many people were under the impression that switching your car off and starting it again while at a red light would use more fuel than letting it idle. This is actually not the case, and stop/start technology can make this process easier for you.
Read on to figure out just how this process actually works and why it can save you a lot of money on fuel.
How much fuel does stop/start technology actually save you?
Many new vehicles like the Mazda CX-5 are fitted with stop/start technology, so there is clearly a reason for it; otherwise, manufacturers would not fit it into their newest vehicles.
Stop/start technology can actually save you a lot more fuel than you think if you regularly drive in the city or in heavy traffic. A recent study noted that using start/stop technology in heavy traffic can improve the fuel economy of your vehicle by up to 8 per cent.
While this may not sound like a lot on paper, these numbers begin to add up over time, which means you could save yourself a lot of money on fuel in the long run if you use a car with this feature.
How does stop/start technology work?
Automatic stop/start technology works in a very simple manner. When you come to a complete stop in your vehicle, the engine automatically shuts off to stop your vehicle from using any fuel and letting out harmful emissions.
This technology was previously only implemented in extremely fuel-efficient cars, such as hybrids, but has since become standard fare, as stop/start technology has made its way into nearly every new vehicle on the market due to how effective it can be at saving fuel.
How is stop/start different from me switching my car off manually?
In practice, you may think that you might be able to achieve the same effect in a vehicle that is not fitted with stop/start technology by switching it on and off manually, but, unfortunately, this is not the case.
If you don’t have this technology, it is not a good idea to switch your car on and off when you are in heavy traffic or driving in the city. This could possibly damage your starter motor and leave you with a hefty repair bill!
What changes do manufacturers make to vehicles to allow this technology to work efficiently?
Vehicles fitted with stop/start technology have sturdier starter motors in order to deal with being used more frequently. These vehicles are also generally fitted with crankshafts and rod bearings covered in a special coating in order for them to be able to handle more frequent restarts.
Electric pumps are needed to circulate coolant and keep a consistent level of hydraulic pressure in the transmission as the engine will be off. This will help to cool the engine despite it being off at the time.
Vehicles with stop/start technology also have to have their electrical systems laid out differently to vehicles without it, as; otherwise, your radio, air-conditioning system, and lights would switch off every time your car’s engine did!
Will stop/start technology have a long-term impact on a car’s engine?
While you may think that frequently turning your engine on and off can damage it or shorten its life span, this is not actually the case.
There are many situations in a traffic jam where you may come to a stop for a second before having to move forward again unexpectedly. While this would normally affect a vehicle using stop/start technology, many manufacturers have developed a workaround.
Many manufacturers fit their vehicles with a tandem solenoid battery, which allows this process to happen seamlessly without damaging your car.
This works by one of the solenoids engaging the starter motor, so it can equal the speed of your engine and avoid damaging it, while the other engages the gear that the driver selects.
When is stop/start technology most effective?
While stop/start technology has already been proven to save motorists fuel when they are driving in the city or in heavy traffic situations, it can be less effective in certain conditions.
If a motorist with this technology drives with their air-conditioning on in their car, it can reduce the amount of fuel that stop/start technology can save you quite substantially.