Pat’s Perspective – Cold Weather Warm Up
Uh…oh, Cold weather is here again, and lots of you will be damaging your engines! One of the worst, yet most enduring, car myths ever is that you need to let your car’s engine idle for ten or more minutes before you drive the car. The theory is, this warms the engine and makes it last longer. NOT TRUE…never was true. Warming up an engine is not good for it and in fact, it is bad for the engine.
The myth started nearly a century ago, when engines didn’t run well until they were hot. So, to prevent stalling in traffic, you had to warm your engine up to a point where it would run without stalling or hesitating. It wasn’t good for engines then and it still isn’t now. When you let an engine idle, you are only warming up the coolant in the radiator which will feel good on your keister, but wont do a bit of good for your car. When the car is idling, it is not heating the engine’s oil, transmission, power steering, tires, and all the other things that heat up as you drive. So, by letting the engine heat up, you drive off with a warm radiator and a toasty heater. But, with everything else nearly stone cold which taxes and wears cold parts. The proper method is to warm the car about sixty seconds, and then drive gently until everything reaches normal temperature. This will generally take only five to seven miles. The exception is when you need to warm the car to melt ice or snow to make it safe to drive. Cold keisters make cars last longer!