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Bypass Idle Shut Down: Solved For Popular Semi Truck Brands!

One way to save fuel consumption is to turn off the engine while it’s idling. This process is called an idle shutdown.

Shutting down the vehicle engine is not only fuel-efficient but also good for a lot of reasons.

However, the idle shutdown also comes with many drawbacks. It turns off the vehicle HVAC system and may add additional wear to the engine and other components. 

While idle shut down is excellent for the environment, this feature is not well-liked by many truckers. If you are one of these drivers, you may want to know how to avoid the idle shutdown in this article.

Here’s how to Bypass Idle Shut Down on a Semi Truck:

To bypass the idle shutdown on a semi-truck, there are a few tricks that you can utilize, such as hitting the brakes or clutch, override feature, and cruise control. The bypass idle shutdown feature is performed manually and will vary with different semi-truck manufacturers.

What is an Idle Shutdown on a Semi Truck?

A semi truck is equipped with an idle shutdown system. It is a feature that stops your engine when it is idling in N (Neutral) or P (Park) for five to fifteen minutes. 

As the name suggests, an idle shutdown automatically shuts down after a few minutes of the vehicle idle. It does not only turn off the vehicle engine but also restarts it when necessary.

Typically, an idle shutdown is to prevent the engine from working when the vehicle is not moving. In some states, the idle shutdown is mandatory to reduce harmful gas emissions.

There are two types of idle shutdown systems. One focuses on the cab interior temperature while the latest idle feature keeps the battery’s state of charge.

What is the Significance of an Idle Shutdown?

The most apparent advantage of an idle shutdown is to reduce the effects of an idling vehicle. It saves fuel consumption, is better for the environment, minimizes damage emission, and extends the engine life.

It also adds a few crucial components to a vehicle while reducing the overall weight. Since its purpose is to control the engine, it doesn’t require more batteries, HVAC components, or machines to perform tasks.

Here are the reasons why the idle shutdown feature is essential to a semi truck:

Idling is prohibited by law.

In some states, the law prohibits the idling of vehicles. While idling is not fuel-efficient, it will also penalize drivers who are caught. 

The implementation of idling laws is to prevent harmful emissions that cause diseases and environmental problems.

To prevent health problems.

Idling fumes can cause several health issues. It can trigger asthma, cardiac problems, lung disease, and even cancer. In other words, they are very toxic to breathe in,

Environmental Problems

Environmental problems are one of the effects of gas emissions that the government wants to avoid. Every 10 minutes that your truck is idling, it releases one pound of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The vehicle is prone to theft.

If you’re the type of driver who leaves the vehicle while it’s idling, go back inside. You will be surprised by the number of vehicles being stolen while the truck is idle.

Further, many drivers believe that not moving your idling car is best to warm up the vehicle. This is, however, a myth. Nothing beats driving your vehicle for warm-up than letting it idle.

Reduces the life of the engine

The truck engine does not operate at its peak temperature when a truck is idle. This situation may affect the engine’s useful life.

Idling will not wholly combust the fuel. It will leave residue behind, which may cause damage to the truck’s exhaust system.

Is it Bad to Bypass the Idle Shutdown on a Semi truck?

It’s not bad to bypass the idle shutdown system on a semi truck. This process is actually remedied when the vehicle is experiencing engine knocking or when you’re struggling to start the vehicle.

Engine knocking is the clucking sounds that you hear after an idle shutdown or due to the wear and tear of your vehicle components. It happens when a fuel stored in the cylinder explodes with other fuel. 

However, the explosion is controlled by other components of the vehicle, such as the spark plug. While the explosion is controlled, this may cause an accident or break the engine and other parts of your vehicle.

Moreover, the idle shutdown is one of the common reasons you may be experiencing difficulty starting the vehicle. As such, there is a need to know how to bypass the idle shutdown.

When should you Bypass the Idle Shutdown on a Semi truck?

As a general rule, it’s not a good practice to bypass the idle shutdown. In most states, the idle shutdown is mandatory as part of a state’s emission compliance programs.

However, there are circumstances when you need to bypass the idle shutdown. First, when the idle shutdown feature is not working; second, during hot season; third, engine knocking; and lastly, difficulty to start the engine.

How to Bypass Idle Shutdown on Freightliner?

All manufactures know the significance of the bypass idle shutdown option. 

However, most of them won’t tell their customers how to set or change the automatic shutdown feature. After all, the override or bypass option is not recommended. 

To bypass idle shutdown, what you need to do first is to turn on your truck. The locate the cruise control button located in the dash or behind the steering wheel.

The cruise control indicator will light up. Now, hit on the accelerate button and watch the RPMs go up. Release the accelerate button to bypass the idle shutdown feature finally.

How to Bypass Idle Shutdown on International?

International trucks are equipped with an override feature where truckers can use to bypass the idle shutdown system. When the override feature is activated, a driver can stop the idle timer preventing the idle or engine shutdown.

To do this, you can use the semi trucks’ clutch or brake anytime before the engine stops working. When this feature is utilized, the timer will stop until the ignition key is used or the vehicle is driven.

The override or bypass feature can only be allowed if the idle shutdown is programmed to “Mode 1” and “Mode 2.” 

Meanwhile, International trucks also feature a” disable option” where you can permanently disable the idle shutdown system. As such, you can disable the idle shutdown feature regardless of road condition and whether the truck is inactive or not.

How to Bypass Idle Shutdown on Kenworth?

Like other high-end trucks, Kenworth is equipped with an automatic idle shutdown feature. Hence, when you want to bypass this feature, you have to disable the feature manually.

Typically, Kenworth drivers utilize the idle bypass shutdown during hot weather. In this kind of season, Kenworth trucks are too hot inside, so the truck is idle.

To bypass the idle shutdown, set the RPM between 800 to 1000. Before the engine stops, hit the brakes to prevent the idle shutdown.

This method is the most commonly used among trucks that don’t have the override feature like Kenworth.

How to Override Idle Shutdown on Peterbilt?

If you own a Peterbilt truck, you will never have difficulty setting the override feature to prevent an idle shutdown. The process will only take you a minute or so.

To do this, head on to your dash and find the cruise control. The button is usually on the right side of the steering wheel. 

Turn on the hit control button and the hit control select button twice. Make sure that the RPM of your vehicle is set at 750 or greater. 

After clicking the control buttons, you will never experience an idle shutdown. Your truck will be in idle mode permanently unless you set it back to its original setting.

When you can’t find the control button, you can override the auto-shutdown through a manual setting. This method is used on Peterbilt’s older model without the control button feature. 

To override the auto-shutdown feature, just hit the brake of the vehicle before the engine stops working.

How to Bypass Idle Shutdown on Volvo?

The bypass idle shutdown feature is only one button away. This is not the same with an older Volvo semi truck where you need to set it up manually through the clutch or brake.

Just press on the cruise control located directly on the steering wheel. Wait until four seconds before you release your finger.

Afterward, slam the glass pedal to keep the truck idle.

Would Bypassing Idle Shutdown get you in Trouble with DOT?

Bypassing idle shutdown may get you in trouble with DOT. 

Bypassing idle shutdown is not allowing your truck to stop while it’s idle. Anti-idle state laws heavily regulate this practice.

The laws vary from state to state. Most states in the US prohibit idling a vehicle for more than five minutes.

The anti-idle laws are beneficial to the majority of people. However, these laws are frowned upon by drivers since the HVAC system also stops when the vehicle also stops.

Since many drivers sleep or rest on the road, the idle shutdown is genuinely inconvenient. Hence, many drivers violate the anti-idle laws.

While this is the case, it’s always best to follow the regulations for the safety of the majority.