Are you someone who always warms up your car for 10-20 minutes before driving during the cold winter months? Did you know it’s unnecessary, even damaging, to warm up your car?
I have to admit that I’ve always been an avid “warm up your car” kind of person on cold winter mornings. I just love being warm and cozy in the car while I drive through the frosty countryside. I’ve always thought that it was perfectly fine and even good for my car to run it a little bit before I actually started driving. It turns out that I was wrong though! Hey, it’s happens! I’ve stopped warming my car up lately and I have to say that I’m glad I have after hearing all the reasons why I don’t need to and why I shouldn’t!
I grew up hearing about how you should warm up your car in the winter before driving it, because that’s just what everyone did! It stuck in my brain as “the right thing to do” just like I’m sure it stuck in many other people’s brains as well. It turns out that this idea is now mostly irrelevant and it can even cause unnecessary damage to your precious vehicle.
The Old Idea – No Longer True
The old idea of warming up your car before you drive it came from the days of carburetors, but now with fuel injected engines, the ECU (the engine control unit, AKA the car computer) can adjust itself perfectly, even in freezing cold temperatures. In fact, idling the car produces very little heat compared to actual driving, so it doesn’t even help “warm up” the car’s engine at all.
Letting your car idle for a long time in cold temperatures can actually lead to engine oil dilution, which is when small amounts of gasoline leak into the oil, actually breaking down the oil’s lubrication properties and increasing the wear and tear on your engine! Not decreasing! Increasing!
I know! Why didn’t we know about this sooner?!
And just think about all that extra gas you’re using up! Eek!
If you want a little more detail, I saw this video the other day and I found it really interesting!
The truth is that car interiors warm up so quickly now that it’s clearly not really worth it to warm up your car at all! And with heated seats and steering wheels, I always find I’m toasty before I even realize it’s really cold out.
Another handy winter survival tip for cold climates: The Creek Line House – How to Tell if Your Dog Needs a Winter Coat
So as long as your windows are clear of snow and ice and you can operate your vehicle safely, just hop in and drive it! That’s all you need to know! 🙂
Did you know that you’re never supposed to warm up your car in the winter or have you been running it for an extra 10-20 minutes needlessly all this time like I have?
MORE HANDY POSTS!
- How to Change Your Car’s Air Filters
- The Coin in the Freezer Trick
- How to Clean Your Floors: Believe it or not, there’s a right way to mop!
- How to Always Have a Clean Car
- The Creek Line House Homekeeping Tips and Tricks Archives
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.