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Should You Idle Your Car to Warm it Up?

One piece of auto advice you’ve no doubt heard for driving your car in the winter is to let it warm up for a few minutes before you drive it. This allegedly prevents some kind of damage that can happen to the engine if you drive it before it has warmed up.

So is this true? This practice is so common that it must have some legitimacy to it, right? Well, the answer is, most likely not. Warming up your car may have been necessary for older vehicles, but any modern vehicle doesn’t need to be warmed up for more than 15-30 seconds. Learn why in this week’s blog.

To Idle, Or Not To Idle

 

The practice of idling a vehicle during winter to warm up the engine was actually effective back before fuel injection was common in vehicles, in the days of carburetors and chokes. But today, any car built from the early ’90s on almost definitely has an electronic fuel injection system, which eliminates the need to warm up your car by idling it for a few minutes. If anything, the most you need to do is let it sit for 15-30 seconds to let the oil circulate through the engine once. After that, you’re good to go.

As a matter of fact, not only is idling not necessary, but it is actually not great for your car in a number of ways:

  • Driving you car warms the engine faster than idling does. You’re actually getting the engine to it’s ideal operating temperature faster by hitting the road than sitting in the driveway.
  • Idling wastes gas, which costs you money and is bad for the environment.
  • When the engine is idling, it’s not operating in the most efficient mode. Combustion of gasoline is actually incomplete when the engine is idling, which can cause performance issues over time if you idle a lot. Driving is the most efficient mode of operation for a vehicle.

idle-car

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 30th, 2015 at 4:10 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.