What Warming Up Your Vehicle on a Cold Day Actually Does...

January 20, 2016

As we’ve all noticed, Iowa winter is here. Most of us start our vehicles in the morning to let them warm up a while before we head off to work. But besides enjoying a warm ride in the morning, does idling your vehicle on a cold day actually have any other benefits? We’ve busted the myths and provided the facts about warming your car on cold days.

Myth – It’s best to idle (warm) my car on cold days.

Fact – The only reason to idle a vehicle is to circulate engine oil. Doing this for 10 – 30 seconds is sufficient, and there is no benefit to letting your engine idle any longer. Gently driving your vehicle is the best way to bring your engine up to operating temperature. The engine and its components (brakes, transmission, etc.) warm up faster this way.

Myth – Engine wear will be reduced by idling my vehicle.

Fact – This is actually quite the opposite. Idling your vehicle for long periods of time can actually damage your vehicle’s engine and its components, such as cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. The amount of fuel your engine needs depends on whether your vehicle engine is cold or warm. Electronic fuel injection regulates how much fuel your engine actually needs. The fuel injectors send more fuel through the system when the engine is cold, and as it warms, sends less. Therefore, idling a cold engine wastes fuel and increases the chance of fuel residue build up, which leads to a reduction in mileage and poor engine performance.

Myth – There is no harm to my family or me when I idle my vehicle.

Fact – When you idle your vehicle on a cold day, it causes the engine to run inefficiently. And, because the engine is cold, it releases more unburned hydrocarbons, meaning more pollutants are being released. Along with that, if your garage is attached to your home, carbon monoxide and other gases can enter into your home without anyone knowing.

Warming your vehicle on a cold day isn’t beneficial to your vehicle, your wallet, the environment, you, or your family. Surprised? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment. To check out more helpful blogs or to get an insurance quote, visit us online at www.knapptedesco.com or call Knapp Tedesco Insurance today at 515-232-7060.