Should You Warm Up Your Car Before Driving In The Winter | Sun Devil Auto

Warming Up Your Car in 2019

Car Windshield With Frost

Vehicles have changed by leaps and bounds within the last few decades. Just about everything from one end of the vehicle to the other has been improved. With improvements and new features changing, you too must adapt to these changes. When your parents

began driving, they likely had to spend an extra ten minutes warming up their car before going out into the crisp, cold morning. Today, you can just jump in the car, start it, and roll down your driveway all within a minute’s time. Just because you can, should you?

Before the introduction of fuel injected engines, cars were equipped with carburetors. In those times, warming up the car was encouraged as it could take a decent amount of time for the choke to help produce the correct blend of air and fuel to be delivered to the engine. Without having the correct air to fuel combination, cars would sputter or stall entirely. Now that vehicles are equipped with electronic fuel injection sensors within the vehicle’s engine, that take the place of the choke, they are able to produce the right combination of air and fuel instantly.

Warming up the car before driving is now considered an antiquated process. In the era where carburetors ruled the road, the role of the carburetor was to mix air and gasoline to make condensed fuel to run in the engine. Because the vehicles were not equipped with sensors to adjust to the correct the air to fuel ratio, in colder temperatures, the engine relied on a “choke” which temporarily enhanced the air intake to produce a richer mixture. Drivers, however, found driving with a choked carb unfavorable making it harder to drive and often would cause damage to spark plugs. As a result, drivers were required to warm up their vehicles before driving to avoid stalling out.

Should You Warm Up Your Car?

Not recommended. Vehicles produced by the late 1980s utilized fuel injection systems making warming up the car a thing of the past. Though many drivers still believe they should warm up their car before driving, there really are no benefits of warming up your car. In fact, you may be causing unnecessary harm to your wallet, the environment, and your engine. Here’s why you shouldn’t:

  • It’s Costly – According to the Environmental Protection Agency, idling cars consume as much as one quarter to a half gallon of fuel for every hour the car idles. Over time, that could really cost you.
  • It’s Bad for the Environment – Idling contributes to vehicle emissions that are harmful to the environment. Even one 10-minute warm-up could emit up to 1 pound of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • It’s Hard on Your Engine – Too much idling can harm your engine affecting the cylinders, spark plugs, and emission system. By letting your car warm up, it actually puts extra fuel into the combustion chamber, which can adhere to the cylinders. Too much gasoline on the cylinders dissolves oil that is vital for lubrication and may cause premature wear on vital components. Using too much fuel while the engine runs, causes the engine to run too rich.

What Should I Do?

While it’s not necessary for the warm-up of a car before driving, you probably shouldn’t just get in the car and take off. Instead, turn on the car, give it just a minute, and take off easily. This will allow the engine and fluids to warm up quickly. Don’t expect to drive off with perfect performance, though. Hopping into your car and gunning it immediately puts unnecessary strain on the engine. Start up your car and give it a minute to allow lubricants to start flowing through the system before your morning drive. A good habit to get into is to start the vehicle, put on your seatbelt, set the station on the radio to your desired station, adjust temperature controls, and program the GPS to your desired destination. By the time you have completed your “preflight to do list,” your vehicle will be primed and ready for the road.

To keep your car ready for the road, choose Sun Devil Auto for all your maintenance and service needs. Our technicians use up-to-date equipment and receive ongoing education and training to keep their knowledge and skills sharp. Maintenance such as oil changes, fluid flushes, and repairs including engines and complex transmissions are our specialty. We utilize original manufacturer parts and their equivalents and offer a two-year 24,000-mile nationwide warranty ensuring that no matter where you are, your vehicle is taken care of. Get to know your local Sun Devil Auto by stopping in any time. We love questions and are always eager to help! Whether you need the air in your tires checked or have questions about the maintenance schedule on your vehicle, we’re here for you.