As summer comes to a close, many car owners begin to wonder about warming up their cars in the winter months. This was definitely the case in years past, but according to the Car Care Council, that is no longer an issue. Most modern cars are well equipped enough to drive in cold temperatures right after starting, without any need to warm up or idle before driving.
So why was this the case in the past, but no longer today? The reason is those older cars used to be manufactured with carburetors. Nowadays, most cars now have fuel-injection technology and complicated computer systems. They also use oils that are thinner and synthetic, so there is no need to let your car warm up before driving.
In fact, letting your car sit for a while or idle can actually have negative effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“When a car idles for more than 30 seconds, it has several negative effects, such as increasing air pollution unnecessarily, wasting fuel and money, and causing excessive wear or even damaging a car’s engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs and the exhaust system. Contrary to popular belief, idling isn’t an effective way to warm up most car engines.”
If you have ice on your windshield and need to let the car warm up to defrost it, or if you want to warm up your vehicle before driving, that is a different store. But after letting your vehicle idle longer than 30 seconds is unnecessary, even when it is below zero. The most effective way to warm your vehicle is to start driving slowly and gently. Letting your vehicle idle like that is a great way to waste money and decrease your fuel economy.
If you are interested in more tips to help the environment or to increase your fuel economy, there is a non-profit organization called the Car Care Council and they have a free guide that is 80-pages. The guide can be downloaded in both English or Spanish and is very popular because it includes tips and a wealth of information that is presented in layman’s terms. The guide doesn’t contain any kind of technical automotive jargon and fits easily inside your glove box. To download or request your free Car Care Guide, check out: www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.
European luxury and supercars have not needed to be warmed up for longer than most consumer vehicles. However, the notion that it is necessary to warm up your vehicle exists due to a misconception due to carburetors. If you have any questions or concerns about the proper care, maintenance and operation of your European luxury or supercar, or to book an appointment for service, give us a call here at Otto’s European. We look forward to hearing from you.