Idling. What are the reasons and how to deal with it?

01 September 2021

In this article we look at the reasons why drivers leave the engine running for long time and discuss how telematics systems can help reduce idling.

Engine idling is an integral part of the running a business. According to manufacturers, trailers can consume up to 3 liters of fuel per hour. When there are several cars in the fleet, these costs can be reflected in significant figures in the reports. Therefore, company executives and fleet managers are taking steps to minimize truck engine idling, taking many factors into account when developing a solution. It is necessary to see at weather conditions, machines technical features, accidents and other unforeseen circumstances from the logistics side.

Sometimes idling is necessary

Engine idling is often referred to unwanted waste. However, this phenomenon cannot be completely ruled out due to the climatic features of the territories where transport operates and because of trucks technical equipment.

The problem is that at low temperatures, diesel fuel begins to freeze, turning into paraffin. The high-pressure fuel pump cannot pump diesel through frozen lines, and the fuel pump in the tank also cannot cope with the jelly-like mass, which leads to its overheating. This affects the life of the fuel system, so drivers do not shut off the engine during winter parking because of the danger not to start the engine again.

Another reason not to turn off the engine is the use of electrical devices in the trucks’ passenger compartment. A running motor through a generator charges the on-board batteries and provides power to other energy consumers. In order not to drain the batteries, drivers prefer to take electricity from a running engine.

And the last reason - trucks are equipped with a pneumatic braking system, i.e. the brake lines contain air, which is pumped by the compressors and stored in the receivers. This type of braking system is chosen due to safety requirements. In case of air leak from the line, it can be pumped up, but this would not be possible with brake fluid. Therefore, before a trip or in between work, the engine runs, pumping air for brakes and other pneumatic systems.

How to solve the problem

Taking into account the fact that engine idling is sometimes still necessary, experts offer solutions to reduce the trucks downtime with a running engine.

Autonomous heaters

To maintain a comfortable temperature in the cab, it is recommended to install autonomous heaters that operate without the participation of the main engine and are equipped with their own fuel system. This will be enough to warm up the cab to comfortable temperature in winter.

Fuel heaters

Fuel tank heaters are used to prevent fuel from freezing or gelling when trucks are idle. Heaters keep diesel fuel in liquid form and prevent fuel lines from clogging.

Cab insulation

Equipping the trucks in the fleet with proper insulation will help to reduce engine idle time significantly. This is true both for the engine to work for heating and for cooling with an air conditioner. It is important to pay attention not only to insulation, but also to ventilation to ensure a comfortable temperature in the cab in all weather conditions, even when it’s hot outside.

Automatic engine shut off on special equipment

Instead of going to idle, you can configure the machine to shut off the engine at a certain interval from the start of idle. Idle engines operation of special equipment can be up to 40-60% of the working time and depend on other processes at the construction site or facility. In the absence of vehicle activity, the system issues a warning about engine shutdown after 60 seconds (the vehicle engine will shut off automatically). This will reduce fuel consumption.

What does Galileosky can offer?

Autonomous cab and fuel heaters have built-in temperature sensors that signal a power outage as soon as the unit or room temperature has reached the required values. More complex scenarios of heater performance (starting and stopping heating depending on a variety of conditions) can be configured with Easy Logic algorithms.

Moreover, if the car is not equipped with autonomous heating systems and engine idling is necessary, then Easy Logic algorithms will help to more dosed fuel consumption by starting the engine at the required time intervals.

We have listed the main causes of engine idling and glanced at ways to minimize fuel consumption using additional devices and telematics systems.

Fleet managers understand that risk and cost management is an integral part of their job. Truck idling is just one of many issues to consider in an overall company optimization plan. To learn more about Galileoskys’ transport monitoring solutions and get inspired by success stories, visit Cargo transportation and Cases pages.

Are you engaged in the equipment selection for a project? Contact us and we will help you to choose tracking devices, technical support specialists will promptly advise you on any technical questions about Galileosky units and technologies.

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