Reader Question: ASS-Equipped Pacifica?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Jim asks: I just bought a 2021 Chrysler Pacifica and enjoy the vehicle; however, the auto stop start is annoying at best. To disable, you push a button and it disables for the time the engine is running but it will default to auto stop start being on next time you start the engine. You had mentioned on a tom woods episode that this auto stop start will put a lot of stress on the starter and very little if any gas is saved. I have looked up ways to reset this function but have not found anything. I came across this “auto stop-start eliminator.” Do you have any experience with this?

My reply: Auto stop-start (ASS) also really gives the starter battery a work out! These batteries – which are more-or-less the same today as they were decades ago – were never meant to re-start an engine perhaps dozens of times during each drive. Each re-start  drains charge, which must then be “topped off” by the alternator. This discharge/recharge cycling is what wears out a battery’s capacity to accept and retain a full charge. ASS-equipped cars will need a new battery sooner for that reason and while starter batteries aren’t hugely expensive – around $120 is typical – the “savings” achieved by constantly shutting off the engine (typically 1 MPG) hardly make up for it and even if they did, the repetitive stop-starting is annoying, as you have noted.

I know a number of people who’ve installed a “defeat” device to defeat ASS – to keep ASS always off, without having to remember to push the button every time you go for a drive. There is no downside to this as the device doesn’t interfere with any vehicle function and it is entirely legal, as ASS is not a formally regulated component of the emissions or safety systems of the vehicle (these are illegal to “tamper” with and can cause your vehicle to fail state emissions/safety inspection, if you have to deal with those).

So, I say – as Arnold says – do it! Do it now!

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