This winter has been an odd one for us Austinites. While the weather is always fairly unpredictable this time of year, these last few months have fluctuated even more than normal. The unreliability of 70 to 30 degrees in a twenty-four hour span can be taxing on the wardrobe and on the nerves. Many car-owners prefer to warm their car up by turning it on before driving off. What are your thoughts on this? Does this make for a better functioning vehicle? Yay or nay?
Today we’d love to take a minute to answer that exact question.
Question: What are the positives and negatives of warming up my car prior to leaving the house?
- Let’s start with the obvious… You’re cozy and WARM during your entire commute.
- With newer Ford models offering remote start, you don’t even need to step outside to warm up your car. A heated car is as simple as pushing a button from the comfort of your home!
- Your safety is another reason to warm up your car before driving off. Defrosting allows for a much better line of vision, making an accident much less likely.
- When vehicles had carburetors before the 1980’s, it was often necessary to warm up the vehicle; warming the car for several minutes allowed the right amount of fuel and air to go to the engine. Without this combination, vehicles would stall and sputter. The transition to the electronic fuel injection meant that the proper air-fuel mix was delivered without the necessity of warming up a car. Though the tradition has continued over the years, warming up the car is not currently necessary to keep your car running.
- Idling your engine for long periods of time has the potential to cause a raw gasoline seep into the oil. This may cause wear and tear and damage to your vehicle.
- The longer the car is on, the more fuel burns. For every 15 minutes your car idles, you lose a quarter gallon of gas. The more fuel that burns, the more money you are burning!
- Excessive idling can cause damage to other parts of your car, such as the spark plugs, exhaust system and cylinders.
- Idling for a prolonged amount of time is also noted to be bad for the environment and human health.
- The engine actually warms up faster being driven!
Taking about 30 seconds to let the car warm up for your own comfort and safety is one thing. But when it comes to your car’s overall performance and our environment, it’s best not to leave an idle car for longer than that. The idea that your car needs time to warm up before driving is based on vehicles that are now decades old. With current car technology, you are good to quickly drive away into your daily routine. Happy commuting, friends!