It is that time of the year when many motorists wonder if they need to let their vehicle “warm up” or idle before driving. In fact, today’s modern cars are ready to drive in cold temperatures without excessive idling. Unless you are trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior of your car, idling longer than 30 seconds is unnecessary, even on the coldest days.
The idea of idling before driving dates back to when cars were built with carburetors. With new fuel-injection technology, complex computer systems and thinner synthetic oils, drivers don’t need to warm up their cars and excessive idling can have several negative effects, including wasting fuel, increasing air pollution, and causing extra wear to a vehicle’s engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs and the exhaust system.
The best way to warm up your car’s engine is to drive gently at the start. Remember, a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when idling, resulting in lower fuel economy and wasted money.
Rich White, Executive Director
Car Care Council