Tips & Tricks to Reduce Idle Time from Montgomery Transport’s Director of Maintenance, Micah Calhoun

Post Date - Jan 10, 2022

  • Drivers can pre-heat or pre-cool the cab by turning on the truck's AC or heat before shutting it off, allowing the insulation to maintain the hot or cold temperature in the cab. In the summer, the most successful drivers will frost the windows and raise the temperature to the 50s if possible, allowing them to use a small portable AC in conjunction with the pre-cooled sleeper.
  • During the winter, use the ESBAR heater!!!!
  • Do not open windows or doors after the cab has been preheated or precooled since the ambient temperature will quickly eliminate the cab temperature if it is admitted into the sleeper.
  • The usage of a portable heater/AC unit is encouraged since it can help mitigate the need for extended idle time.
  • Not all idle is "extended," thus we must focus not only on reducing overnight idle but also on reducing idle at shippers/receivers, when fueling, waiting for a response from a DM, pulling over for a break, etc. This is intermediate idle, also known as short idle.
  • When utilizing a Shore Power system, drivers will need to locate a 110V outlet to put an extension cord with a 15 amp to 20 amp adaptor into. While the 110V power is converted and utilized to charge the batteries and run the cab, a fan or heater can be used with the inverter.


  • There is a direct correlation between downtime and idle percentage. Trucks with less than 30% total idle spend 90.87% less time broken down than trucks with more than 50% total idle.
  • Trucks with less than 30% total idle get 10.7% more MPG than vehicles with more than 60% idle and 17.9% more MPG than trucks with more than 70% idle.
  • Since the introduction of aftertreatment, idle is a nightmare for a diesel engine. In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that diesel engines use exhaust gas recirculation, which sends charge air (essentially exhaust) back into the combustion chamber, lowering cylinder temperatures and reducing NOX, resulting in more soot. To combat this, the EPA mandated that soot be captured in a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and burnt into ash to limit soot emissions into the atmosphere. Idling the trucks reduces the temperature of the engine and increases the amount of soot in the system due to decreased RPMs. As a result, the aftertreatment system performs poorly, and the air quality entering the combustion chamber is compromised, resulting in poor MPG and premature internal engine wear.