Do I have to warm up my car before driving in winter?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs, Tips, Winter Driving Tips on Monday, December 11th, 2017 at 8:21 pm
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Picture this: this first snowfall of the year has arrived, leaving a blanket of white everywhere you look. You’re getting ready to hit the road for work, but uh oh…you forgot to warm up your car before you need to leave. Your dad has been telling you since you were a teenager that your vehicle needs to be “warmed up” before you leave when it’s cold outside, but does that timeless piece of advice still apply? Read on to find out! 

You might also be interested in: Tips for driving at night in the Midwest 

Should you let your engine idle before driving during winter? 

The recommendation to warm up your engine and let your vehicle idle before going anywhere when it’s cold outside stems from a good place, but the truth of the matter is that the advice is slightly outdated. While it does take engines longer to warm up in cold weather, the engine still warms up most effectively when it’s actually being used, not when it’s in idle. Additionally, cars used to rely on carburetors back in the day, which are infamously known for not working properly without being warmed up. However, present-day automotive experts now say that modern cars don’t need to be warmed up for more than 30 seconds, even in cold weather. And in reality, idling can actually do more harm than good. Fuel is wasted and greenhouse gas emissions are released into the environment. So, all in all, warming up your vehicle isn’t a vital piece of your morning routine anymore unless you are driving an aged or antique vehicle. 

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Read more: Three bad driving habits that may be affecting the life of your car 

Have additional questions about how to best take care of your vehicle during winter? If so, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team at Matt Castrucci Mazda or drop us a line in the comments below! And leave us a comment if there’s a specific blog topic you’d like to see us cover in the future!  

One Response to “Do I have to warm up my car before driving in winter?”

  1. Dennis Castillo says:

    I don’t think so. I think this is one of the biggest Jack Frost energy myths that I have ever unearthed. There are many drivers who are still following this myth that idling the automobile before hitting the icy streets can give the speed machine the necessary trigger that is required for smooth winter navigation. I would suggest that instead of following this figment of the imagination, give more attention to the wheel servicing assignments that are quite obligatory for winterizing the road companion. Thus, fix an overhaul appointment with a trustworthy auto repair shop to increase the vehicle’s longevity by performing all the maintenance checks. Thank you.

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