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Reader is skeptical of stop-start technology

Wheels:

Al F. write by email: “I am thinking of buying a new car but I am skeptical of stop- start technology. Can it be turned off?”

Halderman:

Sometimes. Some vehicles equipped with a stop-start system can be turned off using a button on the dash or center stack. Stop-start systems are designed to increase fuel economy and reduce exhaust emissions.

Fuel economy and the reduction of CO2 emissions are estimated to be 5 to 10 percent, depending on the vehicle and how it is being operated. With stop-start mechanism, the engine is stopped when the vehicle is stopped at traffic signals or in stop and go traffic conditions to reduce the fuel consumption.

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Therefore, whether or not the feature can be turned off depends on if the system is needed to meet the mandated fuel economy and/or emission standards. If it can meet the standards without being actuated, it can be turned off. However, the button usually has to be pushed every time the vehicle is started as it often defaults to on.

Various vehicle manufacturers refer to stop-start systems using different terms including:

  • Auto Stop
  • Stop-Start
  • Idle-Stop
  • Smart Stop
  • Intelligent Stop and Go
  • Auto Start/Stop
  • Engine Stop-Start (ESS)
  • Start-Stop

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