On Wednesday, we took a look at some of the consumer sentiment regarding General Motors’ automatic engine stop-start system, which seeks to conserve fuel during daily vehicle operation by temporarily shutting the engine off when the vehicle is at a stop, restarting only when the driver is ready to drive again. Much to the chagrin of many customers, GM remains committed to the technology, resolving to install it in nearly every new vehicle by the year 2020. Research indicates that it can effectively boost fuel economy in some driving scenarios, although that boost is perhaps not adequately reflected in EPA testing results.
Today, we’ll be looking at how to turn the feature off, especially when no dedicated shut-off button is present in the vehicle. Plenty of GM products do come equipped with an engine stop-start defeat button, wearing an icon that consists of a capital letter “A” encircled by an arrow. Anytime that GM’s auto engine stop-start is active, the driver need only press that button once to turn the system off for the time that the vehicle is in use, until the next shutdown and startup.
For vehicles without that button, such as the 2016-2018 Chevrolet Cruze and 2017+ Cadillac XT5, deactivating GM’s engine stop-start on automatic transmission-equipped cars is nonetheless a simple matter. The easiest way to defeat the system is to drive with the shifter in any mode other than the normal “D”. No, we’re not suggesting that you reverse your way to the grocery store. Instead, you can put the vehicle in whatever low-gear (“L”) or manual (“M”) mode option it has, and set it to shift through all the gears.
Such modes allow the automatic transmission to do its thing, with the driver setting a limit by selecting the tallest gear they want the transmission to reach. By selecting the top gear in the transmission, you’re allowing the transmission to shift into all gears as usual, but auto stop-start is deactivated because you’re outside of “D”.
On that note, another quick fix is to select Sport mode, assuming the vehicle in question has one. GM’s auto engine stop-start isn’t active in Sport mode, although the driver should be aware that other settings on the vehicle – throttle calibration, exhaust mode, suspension mode, shift scheduling, etc. – can also change in Sport, possibly causing a further reduction in vehicle fuel economy.
Finally, if the driver wants to temporarily disrupt the engine stop-start system, he or she can quickly move the automatic gear selector into any mode other than Drive – Low, Neutral, Reverse – and then back into Drive to manually force the engine to kick back on. This can be especially useful if you’re waiting to turn out into a busy intersection and you don’t feel comfortable with the delay in thrust introduced by stop-start.
Stay tuned for more GM engine stop-start news as we publish our third and final part in our series on the feature on Friday.