Idle vs Turn off when in store briefly -
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Unread 02-27-2013, 03:57 AM   #1
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1997 ZJ 
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Idle vs Turn off when in store briefly

Random question, but if I'm just stopping into the gas station for say three minutes, should I leave my engine running or stop it and then restart it?

I'd think letting it idle for a few minutes would be easier on the starter and other parts, but at what point does the gas usage make a difference? Because it takes a decent amount of gas to start it, vs not too much at idle. But at some point leaving it running would waste more gas.

And I wouldn't do this in a sh itty neighborhood. (Although I did tonight!)

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Unread 02-27-2013, 05:00 AM   #2
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I. Wouldn't do it period. I laugh at any person who leaves their car unattended running in a lot. In my area u see one of those at every store. It's like 30 seconds of idling is the same as starting it. Just think, you could be the cause of a murderer or robber getting away.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 05:22 AM   #3
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It's fuel injected. It doesn't take that much fuel to start, not like a carb.
'97 zj 5.2, some stuff, some other suff, and some things that even work sometimes.

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Unread 02-27-2013, 05:30 AM   #4
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Ok, so leaving it running during a quick stop won't save any gas it sounds like.

What about the starter? What's the cycle life on those?
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Unread 02-27-2013, 05:33 AM   #5
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I like to let mine warm up completely before shutting it off. So I leave it run at the gas station a minute down the road where i get my coffee. All other stops I shut it down. I keep a second key on me so I lock my door while it's running and keep an eye on it while in the store. If someone goes to pull on the door handle I'll see it.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 09:22 AM   #6
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Regards to the life of a starter ...

I have 95 ZJ 4.0L with 260K.
Purchased with 40K in 1998.
I never leave it running when my tail is out of the seat, especially while at any gas station or convenience store.

Replaced the original starter in 2003 with a Lifetime Warranty option from AAP for $113.
2 bolts, 2 nuts , 45 minutes later ... back on the street.
Replaced the replacement starter in 2009 ... free under the warranty
2 bolts, 2 nuts, 45 minutes later ... life is good.
Last weekend - replaced the replacement's replacement ... free once again
2 bolts, 2 nuts, 1.5 hours later (had dinner in the middle) ... rollin' once more.

Keep in mind that my starters are probably only replaced because my block is cleaned about once a month.
All the residual "gunk" flowing down on it, assists the solenoid with a little sticking ... which my wife does not like to smack it with an old ax handle, we carry in the back.
Replaced they get.

So ... $113 and 3 hours of my time ... over a period of 18 years.
I figure the energy drinks I purchased at those stores during those years have wasted me more - than the starters.
Not to mention the greater potential for theft/damage ... when the crime of opportunity is sitting there idling.

In love ...

Last edited by timbo1969; 02-27-2013 at 09:25 AM.. Reason: added love
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Unread 02-27-2013, 09:44 AM   #7
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That's actually a good perspective. I think I'll just continue to leave in running only on the really cold Minnesota days, especially if the engine isn't at operating temp -- everyone does on those days.

And you're right -- I've probably spent thousands on donuts and chocolate milk in the past few years. Such a damn waste!
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Unread 02-27-2013, 11:02 AM   #8
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I've wondered this same thing many a time. And not once have I gotten a straight answer from anyone I have talked to, let alone a similar one from two people. I get a different response from just about every person I talk to. So far, its about a 50/50 split I'd say. I live up in Montana, and the crime rate where I live is minimal. If an idling vehicle got jacked from the front of a gas station, it would be found extremely quickly. I don't live in a tiny town where everyone knows each other, but it's small enough that news gets around when something like that happens. So I'm not too worried when I DO leave my jeep idling in the parking lot on the days where the thermometer drops below 0. As for gas consumption, like Ratmonkey said, very minimal for the 3 minutes you're in the C-Store for your Red Bull. 6, 1/2 dozen the other really. Any more than about 5 minutes unattended, though, and I start to get a little antsy... Just a matter of personal preference and locale I would think. Just my 2 cents.
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