Winter Survival Tips – Stop “Warming Up” Your Car
The COLD SNAP has begun and there's more ice and snow on the way! And when it get's cold like this, I always see people "WARMING UP" their cars by letting them run idle for extended periods of time. Not only is it technically ILLEGAL to let your car idle with no one sitting it up (because it promotes car theft) it does more harm than good.
Unless your car looks like the picture above, (or even if it does), you should NOT let your car IDLE for more than 2 or 3 minutes max to "WARM IT UP". According to most Master Mechanics, letting your car idle for longer than 5 mins, or the time it takes you to scrape the ice off of the windshield, actually does MORE DAMAGE to your car. Not only does it WASTE GAS and burn oil, it also leaves an ENORMOUS carbon footprint from the excessive emissions.
The idea of warming up a car by idling comes from a time long ago when cars were built with carburetors in the engine instead of fuel injectors like most cars built after 1990. It has to do with the gas and air mixture reaching proper operating temperature. But the invention of fuel injectors and on-board computers that automatically regulate the mixing makes 'idling' a car to warm it up obsolete.
Modern cars are designed to be warmed up while being driven so basically all the owner has to do in get in and drive. Idling not only wastes gas and oil, and is bad for the environment, it causes unnecessary wear and tear on pistons and cylinders and can cause and engine to wear down prematurely.
So if your car was built AFTER 1990 and doesn't have a carburetor, don't waste time and gas with excessive idling, just get in and go.