You Need to Warm Your Car on Cold Days…Or Do You?

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October 31, 2018
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woman drive car in cold winter weather

On cold winter days, we all deal with the inconvenient, but necessary task of starting our car and letting it idle before pulling off. Maybe you start your car and go back into the house, or the first one out the door does the favor for everyone leaving. Those with remote start have the advantage over the rest of us. Maybe you just sit in your vehicle for a minute or two before pulling off. It’s annoying. It’s a pain, but it’s necessary to properly care for your engine.
…or is it?

In recent years, the longstanding belief that you should idle your car has been brought into question. The EPA is against it. Many cities have ordinances against it. This is because leaving your vehicle idling contributes to pollution. You may think that’s crazy, since it is necessary to warm your engine before driving. However, many mechanics and engineers also dismiss this
belief as a leftover from the days of carburetors.

This article by Business Insider  quotes an engineer who explains that because of electronic fuel injection, your car compensates for the cold temperature, and idling your engine to warm it up pumps extra fuel into your engine
unnecessarily, which can strip your pistons of oil and damage components.

Instead, the best way to keep your engine in good order and heat it up in the cold is to drive it. Keep your speed down for 10-15 minutes and you should be fine. Cars made after the 80’s have electronic injection that uses sensors to determine the right air-to-fuel mixture.

So don’t idle your car in the driveway…just drive it slowly!

Now we’ve saved you a little bit of annoyance in the morning, and hopefully we’ve saved your engine a bit of trouble. One thing is for sure though: you don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road this time of year.

As they say, hope for the best and plan for the worst. Pack blankets, a shovel, and kitty litter (for traction in snow) just in case.

As another precaution, save (618) 233-7464 into your phone. If you break down, give Paule Towing a call. We are lightening fast with roadside services and towing in the Belleville area and St. Clair County. We will get to you quickly and get you out of the cold. You can’t take chances during winter weather; give us a call and get out of the cold!