Understanding Auto Start/Stop Systems

1280 × 720
When shopping for a new car, you are very likely to come across Auto Start/Stop systems. Auto Start/Stop or Idle-Stop systems involve shutting off a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle brakes to a complete stop. During the process, the starter shuts off the engine, while the battery continues supplying electricity to the vehicle. Once the driver releases the brake, the battery and starter immediately restart the engine. Furthermore, some vehicles with Auto Start/Stop systems also have some form of regenerative braking technology. This process allows a generator to convert brake energy into electrical energy, which is then used to recharge the battery.
Common Questions About Auto Start/Stop Systems:
  • Will it ruin my engine? No. Automakers have phased in special, more robust starters designed to handle the increase in start cycles. Engineers have also designed self-lubricating bearings that are slicker than normal bearings. Although engine oil technology has improved, oil doesn’t really protect engine parts until after the vehicle warms. The self-lubricating bearings better protect the engine components until the oil gets flowing.
  • Does it actually save gas? Yes. Most Auto Start/Stop engineers cite a 3-10 percent increase in fuel economy when vehicles are using the Auto Start/Stop system. Those who live in a city and spend a lot of time starting, stopping and sitting in traffic will see the largest increases in fuel economy. Edmunds conducted its own study to test these claims, and did experience up to a 10.9 percent increase in fuel economy. See the full results here.
  • Does it turn off my electronics? No. As mentioned above, Auto Start/Stop technology only shuts off the engine, it does not turn off the vehicle; this is an important differentiation. The battery continues to supply electricity to the vehicle, meaning all functions—radio, air conditioning, etc.—continue to operate. Vehicles with Auto Start/Stop systems have stronger batteries with deep cycle capabilities. This enables the battery to handle the added stress of the start/stop.
  • Can I restart the engine without releasing the brake? Yes. Many vehicles with Auto Start/Stop systems allow you to restart the engine by turning the steering wheel.
  • Can I turn it off? Yes. If you really do not like Auto Start/Stop, or don’t want it on for highway driving, almost all vehicles give you the option to turn the system off with the push of a button.
Categories: Car Tech
/* ddcalmirc 05922752 */