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Find Out How Long You Should Warm Up Your Car During Winter Weather

Car Windshield in Winter
(Zoonar)

Keeping yourself warm during extremely cold temperatures is important, but making sure your vehicle gets its proper amount of warm up time is important too.

The subzero temps we’ve dealt with over the past few days in the Evansville has caused its fair share of problems for Tri-State residents including power outages and busted water pipes to name a few. However for most us, the cold air hasn’t completely ground our days to a halt. Unless you’re a teacher, or other school corporation employee, your boss has still expected you to be at work which means you need to hit the road.

Humans, like most other animals, like to keep their level of discomfort to a minimum. So we run out to the driveway, fire up the car, truck, van, SUV, whatever, and let that sucker run for 10-plus minutes while we finish getting ready hoping that by the time we get in to go, it’s nice and warm, making our ride to work comfortable.

If our parents and grandparents are too be believed, letting the car idle for several minutes in frigid weather also prevents damage to the engine as it warms up the various fluids necessary to keep it running properly while you’re driving. While that may have been true 50 years ago, or if you’re driving a car manufactured before 1980, that’s not the case now with today’s modern, fuel-injected engines.

According to an article titled “8 facts and myths about warming your car up in winter” on Yahoo! Autos Canada (they know a thing or two about cold weather up there), running your car for 30 seconds is overkill as that’s really all the time it takes to get the oil out of the pan and pumped through the engine.

But what about the heater? Doesn’t the engine need time to warm up the air that blows out of your vents? Nope. Actually driving the vehicle does it quicker according to a quote in the article from Bob Aldrich of the California Energy Commission.

It also states that long periods of idling can actually do more harm than good over the life of your engine as forcing it to idle causes it “to operate in a very inefficient and gasoline-rich mode that, over time, can degrade the engine’s performance and reduce mileage,” according to the Hinkle Charitable Foundation.

Long story short, if you want to stay warm on your ride to the office, bundle up.

Check out the complete list of myths about warming your car in cold weather at the Yahoo! Autos Canada website.

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