December 08, 2017


Written by Devon Tamagi


Its winter and we know the idea of getting into a freezing work truck or van is the opposite of appealing. But the concept of warming up your vehicle and idling in the winter is chock-full of costs, myths and risks that can directly harm the profitability of your business.




Over the course of 6 months, Plug N Track GPS has collected data regarding idling from our sample of over 1000 vehicles, across many companies and industries. We found that the average vehicle idled for 47 hours/month, wasting roughly 38 gallons (145 liters) of fuel which resulted in ~$177 per month, per vehicle. If you run a small business with a fleet of five vehicles that means you’re likely wasting $885/month on fuel alone due to idling.


Increased maintenance costs and expenses from idling can ramp up quickly. Now to completely eliminate idling is an unrealistic expectation, however, using the Plug N Track GPS solution, by setting an improvement target of 70% you could save $124/month.


Running a cold engine means inefficient fuel use which can lead to unnecessary wear and tear. Therefore warming the engine before use is a best practice to extend its life, right? Unfortunately no, that is one of the longest standing myths. This used to be true when vehicles operated with carburetors but nowadays, every vehicle has fuel injectors which have the ability to detect engine temperature. Once the computer recognizes that it’s cold, the fuel injectors compensate and inject a higher fuel concentration into the cylinders. This means that the vehicle will be functioning as if it were the middle of July. As the engine heats up, the fuel injectors will once again compensate and reduce the amount of fuel being shot into the cylinders to foster combustion.

Letting a vehicle idle to warm the engine is not only unhelpful, it will actually harm the engine. The more you idle in the cold, the likelier it is that the extra fuel will wash away the oil lubricating the piston rings and cylinder liners, which could lead to a seized engine. 



Although most consumer vehicles come with built-in remote starters nowadays, most companies don’t want to shell out the extra cash to outfit their fleet of trucks with a luxury feature like remote starters. This is understandable, but unfortunately, it can result in employees physically going out to start their vehicles and leaving them to warm up. This exposes the business to the risk of vehicle theft, and it’s not uncommon. Between November 1st and November 10th in Edmonton, Alberta over 33 vehicles had been stolen due to idling, and “warming up” vehicles before use. It is possible to reduce this risk by urging drivers to use steering wheel locks or other security measures such as GPS Tracking.  



Plug N Track GPS can simultaneously help reduce idling as well as reduce risk in the case of theft with 24/7 tracking. If one of your vehicles does get stolen, you’ll be able to pinpoint its exact location in a matter of minutes. Simply inform the authorities and they will be able to recover it quickly and safely. Trust us, it has been done. That being said, the best way to prevent unnecessary wear and tear, wasted fuel, and theft is to simply not idle. Through precise tracking and monitoring Plug N Track GPS will help you benchmark vehicle idling and provide you the reporting and management tools necessary to reduce this wasteful behavior and save you money. 


Want to see how Plug N Track GPS can ? Book a FREE demo today!


Let Plug N Track GPS help your fleet be more productive and profitable!