Introduction To Start-Stop System [Technology] In Cars

In recent times ,  technology has been steered towards the conservation of energy rather than creating so much that its abundance clouds our judgement. In this case, rather than working the political and environmental ties that increase our fuel supply for our vehicles, start-stop technology is a better alternative which instead, minimizes our fuel usage.


How does the Start-Stop System In Cars work?

The basic concept behind the start-stop system is to conserve fuel usage in cars. Study has shown that about 4 billion gallons of gasoline is wasted yearly while the vehicle is idling. With these numbers, it’s very probable that the government will incorporate the adoption of the start-stop technology into its stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations.



Start-Stop is basically a system that shuts down the engine in a vehicle while it is stationary. Instead of making you manually turn the engine back on, the engine automatically starts when the driver is ready to move again by engaging the clutch or releasing the brake.

In technical terms, it shuts down the internal combustion engine to reduce the fuel the engine spends while idling and by so doing, it reduces both fuel consumption and gas emissions.

Therefore, apart from being an economical option, it helps keep the environment safer than it would be if the engines were on all through the highway. This also saves you the stress of turning off the vehicle’s engine every time the traffic light is red, and then back on when it’s green.


How does it affect my engine?

As cool as this seems, the first thing that pops into a responsible driver’s head is – Is this safe for my engine? Because if you had to choose between additional convenience and the safety of your engine, you’d want the cheaper option.



As far as its effects go, here’s a simple explanation.

Normal cars experience up to 50 thousand start-stop events during their entire life time. In this case, the start and stop events are times when the engine is actually switched on and off. These periods include times when you’re stuck in complete standstill traffic and when you actually park the car in your garage or other public parking spots.

However, with this automatic start-stop technology, the figure increases to as much as 500 thousand because at every point the vehicle is not moving, it is activated. So, naturally that would affect the engine in some way or the other, depending on how your daily traffic looks. The higher the start-stop cycles experienced by a vehicle, the higher the wear and tear.

The technology shuts down the combustion of the engine while it’s activated. This means that at every start cycle, the spark plug has to regenerate a spark that will reactivate the combustion and bring the engine back to life.

Definitely, the spark plug as well as other integral parts of the ignition will take hits every time the system restarts.

Another area that is being affected by this technology is the crankshaft. The crankshaft happens to be one of the heaviest parts of the engine to which other smaller parts are attached, such as the bearings.

The bearing surfaces and the crankshaft are never in contact while the engine is running as they are being separated by a thin film of oil which is fed and pumped under pressure to spin the crankshaft. The process is known as hydrodynamic lubrication.

However, when the engine stops, the crank rests on the bearing and then the surfaces some in contact. When this happens too often like with the start-stop technology, it leads to wear and tear of these metal surfaces.

Summarily, this entire process tends to challenge the durability of the engine over time if the necessary steps are not taken to prevent this from happening.

The crankshaft and the bearings of the engine are protected from wear and tear in the following ways;

  • the implementation of new bearing materials with better self-lubricating properties such as Irox;
  • the use of low friction oils (which are more expensive, but completely worth it).


How much Fuel does it Save?



This obviously depends on how much time your engine spends idling. The most important thing to note is that if your vehicle is not moving, you’re not consuming any fuel.

In systems such as the Volvo, the start stop technology is automatically activated when the battery is low and you turn on the air conditioning. Technically, it prevents you from overusing the battery as much as it saves fuel. It also activates itself when the driver unfastens his/her seatbelt, working as a safety precaution and assuming that whenever the seatbelt is off, the vehicle is not in motion – as it should be.

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