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If you are here, you probably are confused about the “A” symbol in your car. This article explains everything you need to know, so make sure you read it till the end.
“A” in a Circle Meaning?
The “A” symbol in a circle refers to the engine start-stop system, also called the idle star-stop system (ISC), a fuel-saving feature with which most modern cars are equipped.
If you have a button with an “A” symbol on it, you can press it to activate or deactivate the start-stop system. When activated, some cars may display the “A” symbol on the instrument cluster, and when the system is deactivated, the “A” symbol will have a cross line over it.
When the start-stop system is activated, the car turns off the engine to save fuel in certain situations, such as when you are waiting at the traffic signal; once you turn the steering or depress the clutch pedal, the engine starts again, in automatic cars the engine starts as soon as you release the brake pedal.
Benefits of the Engine Start-Stop Utility?
I have been using this feature for nine months and realized it’s more valuable than I thought. Some people do not like this feature at all because it’s true it can be frustrating as well sometimes, but so far, I have not experienced anything disappointing. Those who don’t like it can simply press the button to turn off the function.
Here are some of the benefits of the Start-Stop system:
The start-stop function automatically restarts your car when you stall it. Manual transmission owners love this feature. As soon as the car is stalled, just depressing the clutch pedal immediately restarts the car.
Saves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions
Most people do not shut the engine off when they are in traffic. The start-stop system handles it perfectly. It turns off the engine, and the blowers keep running to maintain the cabin’s temperature. This saves a lot of fuel in the long term and reduces vehicle emissions, too.
Good for car’s health
The feature is good for the engine and other components because it prevents unnecessary wear and tear. Also, I noticed my car turns off way more than it does in the winter season; that’s when I realized the system shuts the engine based on engine temperature. I asked a senior technician at Skoda’s dealership; he confirmed the system shuts the car more frequently when the engine is hot.
Provides all of the benefits without compromising the cabin’s temperature
For example, Suppose the car’s climate control is set at 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius), And the engine is off. The start-stop system restarts the engine as soon as the cabin temperature starts increasing and the AC starts cooling again.
Facing Issues With the Automatic Start-Stop System?
Like other electronic systems, this system can malfunction, too. Below, we have mentioned some common issues related to it. Keep in mind, in some situations, the start-stop system may not be at fault; instead, some other component that works with it can malfunction.
Sometimes, the system turns off the engine for no reason, although I never had any issues; several people have reported the system shutting off the engine when the car was still in motion. Usually, it’s caused by a faulty speed sensor; you can get it fixed at your dealership or any other local mechanic.
Occasionally, the system may not work like it’s supposed to. But most of the time, it does not work for valid reasons. For example, if your car is not cool yet, the start-stop system will not shut the engine off to keep the cabin cool, which makes sense. Other reasons could be a low battery, a malfunctioning sensor, etc.
The delay in restarting the engine can be caused by multiple components, such as a weak batter, faulty starter, or even the start-stop system. If your car has a weak battery, it will fail to provide enough power to start the engine. Also, a malfunctioning transmission control unit can cause this, too, if it fails to re-engage the transmission.
How To Fix The Engine Stop-Start Feature Not Working Properly
If you are facing any issues related to this system, we have mentioned some solutions to troubleshoot the problem quickly.
Scan the car with an OBD-II scanner
You can scan the car with an OBD-II scanner; if anything is malfunctioning, the scanning tool will identify it, and then you can get it fixed.
Make sure the battery is working properly
As mentioned before, if your car has a weak battery, it will fail to provide enough power to start the engine. If required, make sure you replace the battery with a new one.
Turn off the system temporarily
Turning off the system temporarily will fix anything related to it, and you can take it to a mechanic and get it fixed.
What to do if nothing works?
If nothing is working, you should take the car to a local mechanic or visit the official service center. They can quickly diagnose and fix the issue.
When to Turn Off the Stop-Start Feature?
Even though this feature is useful, the majority of car companies let people turn it off using a button, so people can do that based on their situation, just like the traction control feature.
If you don’t like it
There are several people who find this feature annoying and really don’t care about saving fuel. If you are one of them, you can just press the ”A” symbol button to deactivate the system.
In some weather conditions
In some weather conditions, it’s better to keep it disabled so the car remains started. For example, if it’s raining heavily, I would prefer to keep the car started because safety features like traction control only work when the engine is working. So, for better vehicle control, it makes sense to keep the system disabled.
While off roading
While off-roading or driving on bumpy roads, it’s better to keep this system as disabled for a consistent drive.
Battery is low or dying
If your car’s battery is low or dying due to age, it’s better to turn off the start-stop system to avoid stress on the battery that happens when the car has to be started multiple times in a short period.
Truth About Auto Start Stop: 3 Myths Busted: