Letting Your Car Warm Up On Cold Winter Mornings

There has been a lot of debate about whether you should let your car warm up on cold winter mornings. Some people say that it is bad for he environment and even bad for the engine while others say that when the car warms up gradually through idling, it is better for the car and for the driver who does not want to drive a cold car. So whats the truth? Which way is the best for the car, driver and the environment? It all boils down to whether the driver thinks it is worth the fuel consumption it takes to idle until it is warm.

Fuel consumption

Letting Your Car Warm Up On Cold Winter MorningsThe common misconception about letting your car warm up on cold winter mornings is that since you are not going anywhere, it is not using much fuel. The fact is that when your car idles for two minutes, it takes as much gas as it would take to drive about a mile so if you let your car warm up for 10 minutes, you lose up to 5 miles off your tank of gas, something that can really add up with the fluctuation of gas prices.

Another element of the fuel consumption from letting your car warm up is the release of fumes from the gasoline that can cause pollution. These fumes increase when the cold engine is started but running the car does not increase or decrease these fumes, therefore, it does not benefit the environment when the car is not warmed up when it is cold outside.

Engine Performance

Another large misconception about why you should let your car warm up is the theory that it is easier on your engine to warm it up. This is not the case. The way the engine works is that when it is cold, it needs to warm up, but the ideal way for it to warm up is to get it moving. When you drive at a normal pace, not speeding or hard breaking; your car will warm up naturally without wasting gas. This allows all of the components to warm up while they are moving instead of simply sitting there with none of the parts really moving.

Human Heat

Even though warming up your car by idling on the cold winter mornings can be harder on your vehicle, you also need to keep in mind exactly how cold it is outside. When temperatures reach down to the single digits, or even below zero, you do not want to sit in a cold car.

The answer to whether or not you should let your car warm up on cold winter mornings has many factors to it. On one hand, it does not benefit your car, experts say it can actually be harmful to the environment but if you get into a cold car, you can be risking your own health. The best way to figure out if you should let your car warm up is to see how cold it is and if your windows have ice. If you gotta scrape, then you should let it warm up for just a minute until the heater kicks in, if it is warm enough that ice hasn’t formed, then it is warm enough to drive without becoming a popsicle.

Fred Mccurdy AuthorWritten By

Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive
1710 E Curry Rd
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Office: 480-994-4741

Posted: December 3, 2012
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