Reward for reporting idling cars.

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby Cyril Haearn » 6 Mar 2020, 10:27am

What vehicle was that please?
..
Try parking in different places if possible, protected by a wall, under a street light, might be a bit less cold, might make enough difference to misty windows
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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby mattheus » 6 Mar 2020, 10:29am

pwa wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:
pwa wrote:I struggle with getting the windscreen clear on very cold mornings. I'm happy to get the bulk of the exterior frost off by scraping, but I get frost inside too. And no amount of wiping gets the windscreen as clear as I want for safe driving. Especially in the hours of darkness when the lights of oncoming traffic exacerbate the problem. I do let the engine idle for a short time to address that issue. I don't like doing that and if I knew of a better solution I would use it.

Widening this out a bit, anyone got any clever suggestions for cleaning the inside of windscreens?



Slightly warm water as above. Gentle hairdryer. But I agree about the difficulty. +1 for your reluctance.

As I wrote above, I generally have the luxury of not being in a hurry.

I did wonder about sticking a couple of hot water bottles on the dash for twenty minutes.


I just used one - worked brilliantly. I generally boil the kettle on a cold morning for other purposes, so very little effort. (The BMW "warm brick" works in exactly the same way - do they still have them?)

For Cleaning? WIndscreen/glass cleaner! The stuff works, and means that when you give a quick wipe in the morning with something non-ideal, you still get less smearing.

(If you get bad condensation in cold weather it suggests the car is damp - not always easy to solve, sadly.)

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby Pastychomper » 6 Mar 2020, 12:58pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:What vehicle was that please?
..
Try parking in different places if possible, protected by a wall, under a street light, might be a bit less cold, might make enough difference to misty windows


All good advice indeed. It was a Land Rover Freelander, one of the few Chelsea tractors that actually makes a good tractor.
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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby fullupandslowingdown » 6 Mar 2020, 1:43pm

that's the problem, if we start loading the car up with extra gizmos, either we have to be very disciplined to put them back in the house before going to work, or we end up dragging that extra weight around, using more fuel in the process - which may or might not be as much as what we'd use by idling the engine to start with. Which is why we are all doomed. Not enough driveways so we can't all run heaters.

I note that boris.gov.uk have announced they are planning to make all new houses have their own provision for electric car charging. Isn't that going to need a sea change in affordable high density housing design as flats ect are seldom given individual parking places, and certainly not outside their homes. Are we going to see the reintroduction of basement parking, which would be better for floods, as all house will be at least a floor higher.

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby mikeymo » 13 Mar 2020, 1:18am

Samuel D wrote:
mikeymo wrote:On a frosty morning I run the engine while the car is on the drive, usually while I'm loading my work gear into it.

I do this so that the windows are free of frost on the outside, and condensation on the inside, once I start driving.

They would be free of condensation anyway if you set the ventilation optimally before rather than after they start steaming up from your breathing. Don’t do what I often see: get in the car panting, close the doors, get the child comfortable in the back seat, rummage in pockets to find the key, and finally set off with the HVAC controls as they were left at the end of the last drive.

mikeymo wrote:I hope this behaviour is acceptable. Please let me know if not.

It might be an offence (Rule 123 of the Highway Code).

It pollutes more than necessary, both locally and CO2.

It’s not good for the engine. Engines warm up a lot faster (in both time and cycles) if subjected to a little work. That’s why your owner manual says to start the engine and drive off (without heavy load or high revs until it’s warm). The longer an engine runs cold, the greater the wear. Diesels are even slower than petrols at reaching operating temperature when idling.

I’m not unreasonable about this and don’t think a brief idling period to make the car more driveable from the outset is unacceptable, especially if the vehicle wants that (carbs, immediately joining a motorway, etc.), but a systematic 20-minute idle when getting out of work is pretty obnoxious and terrible for the engine.


I said that I run the car in the morning. That's at the START of the day, not when "getting out of work". Sorry if that wasn't clear. I don't think I specified how long I run the engine for.

But thank you for not being "unreasonable about this". That's very generous of you.
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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby brooksby » 13 Mar 2020, 8:41am

fullupandslowingdown wrote:Are we going to see the reintroduction of basement parking, which would be better for floods, as all house will be at least a floor higher.


I've wondered about that. Cars aren't waterproof (not watertight, anyway), and your car is the second most expensive thing most people own after their house (or sometimes third, after their limited edition carbon road bike... :wink: ). So most people wouldn't want to sacrifice their car any more than their sofa/tv/etc.

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby Cyril Haearn » 13 Mar 2020, 8:42am

Or use but do not own :wink:
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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby mattheus » 13 Mar 2020, 8:46am

… but it is one the quickest/easiest things to replace. And if there is safe/high ground nearby, the car is the easiest thing to move there.

Floors take a very long time to dry (probably quicker with a carport under them?).

Some personal belongings can never be replaced.


Swings/roundabouts, perhaps ...

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby Samuel D » 13 Mar 2020, 10:53am

mikeymo wrote:I said that I run the car in the morning. That's at the START of the day, not when "getting out of work".

Rule 123 of the Highway Code makes no concessions for idling in the morning. The engine damage from cold idling is equally bad at any time of day.

But the thread is not just about you. With “getting out of work” I was referring to 100%JR’s boast on page 6 that he idles his car for 20–25 minutes so that it’s “toasty” for his drive home.

Clearly fuel is nowhere near expensive enough while warming-up for minor convenience or comfort continues. Heating an engine block and coolant to warm or dry the interior of the cabin before setting off is preposterously inefficient. Behaviour like this only takes place because we still take for granted burning large quantities of energy on a whim, because petrol is cheap. And it’s only cheap because the consumer pays none of the externalities of extracting, refining, distributing, and burning the stuff.

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby fullupandslowingdown » 13 Mar 2020, 12:41pm

So what is the solution which will work for all of us who have experienced this phenomenon for the last 40 years? As I said I have tried a portable dehumidifier without any success, and using an AC electric fan heater is out of the question for 61.8% of car owners. The only universal solution I can think of is to do away with windows, and use goggles..... except from experience that gets mighty cold for all the passengers (though if I could stop the pesky lot from breathing out, that might stop the problem to start with :evil: )

For the avoidance of doubt, I sit alone in the car whilst warming it up (thats rule 123 nixxed) and I adjust the blower setting (many of us still don't have aircon tha knows) as the engine starts to warm. I've tried various things such as winding down the windows (some of us don't even have electric windows...) when driving to force multiple changes of air ( though windows down equals more fuel consumption) I've tried ending the journey the night before with different heat settings to see if that reduces the latent moisture load.

The only thing I know for certain in summer, is that if I don't set off in the morning to work, until late afternoon, then there is little or no condensation remaining on the screen :?

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby Samuel D » 13 Mar 2020, 1:19pm

My car has a 69 kg petrol engine with a low coolant capacity. It produces noticeably warmed air from the cabin vents about a minute after a cold start, assuming I’m using the engine to drive slowly rather than sit at idle.

(Idling engines take much longer to warm up, especially modern ones with low-friction features or diesel ones with a large thermal mass and minimal fuel being burned at idle to heat it because of the low pumping losses of a diesel with no conventional throttle.)

By the time air is warmed at all – it doesn’t have to be warm, just warmer than ambient – its humidity has dropped and it has a powerful windscreen-clearing effect if the HVAC controls are set correctly. Normal outdoor relative humidity is below 100% anyway. Many automatic climate control systems wait far too long before blasting air at the windscreen, another reason to favour manual control.

Since I get everything ready before closing the doors and windows, breathing inside, and starting the engine, there’s usually little or no mist to clear. Therefore I don’t have this problem to a significant extent. (The car also has air conditioning, though I don’t normally use it to clear glass. My fiancée does sometimes use it, because planning the departure and adjusting the HVAC controls appropriately requires some knowledge and engagement that usually eludes her. Like about 98% of drivers, she has no interest in optimising such procedures.)

When I lived in Northern Ireland, a wetter place, with a Renault 5, a car that took longer to warm up and occasionally leaked, I did have more problems. Then again, I didn’t much care about wasting fuel back then. I’ve learned better since.

Diesels are to be avoided for this reason and many others if your journeys are often under about 10 or 15 miles. Choosing a car for its typical purpose is considered passé but that should be the starting point. A 2-litre diesel is not an appropriate car for a short commute but is depressingly common in workplace parking lots. I guess that’s finally starting to change after dieselgate, albeit for the wrong reasons.

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby fullupandslowingdown » 13 Mar 2020, 6:51pm

.........produces noticeably warmed air from the cabin vents about a minute after a cold start, assuming I’m using the engine to drive slowly rather than sit at idle.

(Idling engines take much longer to warm up, especially modern ones with low-friction features or diesel ones with a large thermal mass and minimal fuel being burned at idle to heat it because of the low pumping losses of a diesel with no conventional throttle.)

By the time air is warmed at all – it doesn’t have to be warm, just warmer than ambient – its humidity has dropped and it has a powerful windscreen-clearing effect if the HVAC controls are set correctly. Normal outdoor relative humidity is below 100% anyway. Many automatic climate control systems wait far too long before blasting air at the windscreen, another reason to favour manual control.

Since I get everything ready before closing the doors and windows, breathing inside, and starting the engine, there’s usually little or no mist to clear.....


I can see the problem in our experiences, or rather not see. When one gets in the car in the morning, the inside of the screen is misted up. Rule 229
make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly


So not having a substantial country house lane to drive along, one cannot move until one has clear view. Kinda of safer too especially when other headlights scatter light on ones misted up screen. Maybe some people simply have better passenger cabin air ventilation systems. Still, I only pay £30 a year road tax, and achieve 55mpg on petrol so tis not so bad.

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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby mikeymo » 13 Mar 2020, 6:59pm

Samuel D wrote:
mikeymo wrote:I said that I run the car in the morning. That's at the START of the day, not when "getting out of work".

Rule 123 of the Highway Code makes no concessions for idling in the morning. The engine damage from cold idling is equally bad at any time of day.

But the thread is not just about you. With “getting out of work” I was referring to 100%JR’s boast on page 6 that he idles his car for 20–25 minutes so that it’s “toasty” for his drive home.


Yes, you're right, this thread is not just about me. But YOU quoted ME, and then went on to talk about idling a car for 20 minutes "getting out of work". Which I didn't say I did.

Here's an idea - reply to people about what THEY have actually said, not what SOMEBODY ELSE has said. I couldn't care less about what 100%JR said he or she does.

What I actually said was:

"On a frosty morning I run the engine while the car is on the drive, usually while I'm loading my work gear into it.

I do this so that the windows are free of frost on the outside, and condensation on the inside, once I start driving."

Frosty mornings are fairly rare these days, and there are only two mornings a week that I leave for work so early that the windscreen is likely to be frosty.

As I also said, the car is on the drive, in other words on my private property, so you might need to factor that into whether any of the laws you are so keen on quoting have been broken.

Here's the thing, I'm pretty certain that if a police officer were to pass and see the car engine running, along with a windscreen clearly in the process of defrosting, she would look at it as an example of a driver making sure visibility would be good once they entered the public highway.

Of course, you could always come round and sit at the end of my drive and make a citizen's arrest for whatever heinous offence you deem has been committed.

As it happens the last car I had ran to 190,000 miles, with the same engine, before I sold it on, still in very good working order. So your concerns about the negative effect this occasional behaviour might be having on the engine are probably misplaced. But thanks for the advice.
Last edited by mikeymo on 13 Mar 2020, 7:23pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby mikeymo » 13 Mar 2020, 7:07pm

fullupandslowingdown wrote:So not having a substantial country house lane to drive along, one cannot move until one has clear view.


No, wait, you've solved the problem!! The answer is clear - I'll just buy a mansion with huge grounds. Or a farm. That way I can drive the car without being stationary, and by the time I get to the public highway (driving past the gatekeeper doffing his cap) my windows will be clear!! Genius!! Might flatten the odd pheasant on the way of course, but what the hell. At least I won't have let the car idle. Which apparently is what Hitler did.
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Re: Reward for reporting idling cars.

Postby mikeymo » 13 Mar 2020, 7:19pm

fullupandslowingdown wrote:The only universal solution I can think of is to do away with windows, and use goggles..... except from experience that gets mighty cold for all the passengers (though if I could stop the pesky lot from breathing out, that might stop the problem to start with :evil: )


Or that would work too. I commend you for coming up with innovative solutions to the evil habit of letting your engine run for a short while so that the car is safe to drive.

Actually, I do remember (but not for a long time), seeing HGV tractor units being driven with no cab at all round the driver. Just a seat and controls. Presumably on their way to a coach builder somewhere. The drivers were dressed like WW1 fighter pilots, gloves, googles, leather caps and everything. Must have been bloody freezing.
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