Myth or Fact: Should You Warm Up Your Car During the Winter?

should you warm up your car during the winterEveryone has heard that you should warm up your car during the winter, but many of the people we see at Fremont Scion are curious to find out if doing so is actually a good thing.

The short answer is: not really. The long answer is this:

The idea behind warming up your car is simple. People believe it lets the oil circulate through the engine, allows the engine to reach its normal operating temperature, and reduces engine wear. But the truth is that modern engines are already designed to operate in cold weather and have no difficulty warming up while on the move. In fact, they warm up better if you don’t idle.

Idling is also not ideal for your vehicle or the environment. Incomplete fuel combustion, inefficient catalytic converter performance, and unburnt gasses are all symptoms of idling, which cause damage to the powertrain and lead to excessive pollution.

Additionally, idling wastes gas, can cause dangerous fumes to enter your home the car is in the garage, and makes it easier for your car to get stolen if you are leaving it outside.

The verdict is: needing to warm up your car a myth. Unless the temperature is far below freezing or you need to clear large amounts of snow or ice off your car, you really don’t need to idle more than 30 seconds before heading out.

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