Many of us in Michigan grew up watching our families warm up the car by idling it in the driveway. The amount of time you’d have to spend being cold was limited between the house and the car, and you’d be on your way in a nice toasty seat. However, new studies have shown that idling your car is a thing of the past, and isn’t necessary for newer cars.
The Washington Post recently published an article that explains how idling your car in the winter is actually causing more harm than good. Even today, many Americans tackling cold winter months still believe that they should warm up their car before trekking out onto the roads.
The concept of idling your car when it dips below 30 degrees started in the 1980’s, as it allowed your engine to warm up. At the time, it was believed that your car would not run as efficiently unless it reached a certain temperature, and this process allowed it to properly reach that level. However, many of today’s modern vehicles are built with carburetors, and it is no longer necessary to warm up your engine through idling. With advanced systems and computer equipment now developed into today’s cars, experts suggest a different process to maximize your car’s longevity and potential in the winter.
Experts suggest that just simply driving your car is more beneficial than allowing it to idle in your driveway. The heat that is created inside your car and near the engine will start to rise within 30 seconds of moving your vehicle, rather than letting it sit still. The only time that your car may need some time to warm up, is when your windows are frozen or frosted over, and needs to be clear of ice.
However, don’t get over zealous with your car’s ability to get up and go. Studies still promote driving slowly and carefully to allow your car to warm up properly. Revving the engine and trying to move too quickly at once can cause serious damage to your car and engine.
So what should you do tomorrow when it’s bitter cold outside? Remember that idling your car isn’t really going to give you any benefit, except stepping into a warm seat. Start your engine, drive slowly, and extend the life of your car by removing idling from your morning commute!