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Archive for December 25th, 2016

Snowed car.jpg

The long tired debate of whether you should warm up your car in frigid weather continues and there’s many articles saying you shouldn’t including this youtube video,

Articles and videos such as that saying you only have to wait 30 seconds if you have a car that has fuel injection (not ones with carburetors), but you only have to wait 30 seconds in any climate, according to some of these people.In the youtube video, it shows how a cold engine behaves, it’s running too rich and the excess gas is removing oil from the cylinder walls. Now i’m not claiming that they are wrong, but it seems counterintuitive that they would recommend you put on a load while extra fuel is being dumped into the cylinder chambers. They do not address that everything is spinning faster when you are accelerating (like belts, the engine components and transmission), so what is going on when you are driving off in a car that hasn’t been warmed up for a bit? It can’t be good. If you are driving off in a cold car the cold air would also keep the engine colder and it would be difficult to get the car up to a decent temperature.

It’s the same with these people that think that 3,000 mile oil changes are too soon. While it’s true that some modern cars don’t need it, not every car has an oil life monitor to give the owner an idea when to get an oil change. But that’s a different topic all together.

The best recommendation is to see what the manual states. Not only that you do need to have the defroster working so allowing the car to warm up 2-5 minutes is ideal. Even if you remove the snow or ice from the windows, they can still fog up or some additional snow may form if it’s already snowing outside. So having a properly working defroster is a must when driving. If it takes your car longer for the defroster to work, perhaps let the car warm up longer if needed. Allowing your car to warm up in cold weather is much safer. Engine components work better and if there is a problem, it’ll usually display on the dashboard, like the battery won’t charge or there is a problem with the ABS and other factors that the cold would impact on. It wouldn’t be good if you are taking a semi lengthy trip (like 30 minutes or more) only to find out the alternator crapped out upon the car starting up and the car is using the reserves in the battery as the alternator is the primary source of the vehicle’s power. Though the alternator or some other component could fail at any point, if the car needs oil or brake fluid you need to allow the car to warm up to detect whether there is a vital fluid in need of replenishment.

There are also engine block heaters, at least for those who do not own a garage, and storing the car in the garage during cold climates. Doesn’t do much when you are at work but the same applies as if you do not have a garage. Some people say that warming up your car is a waste of gas, you really shouldn’t need more than 7 minutes but some people like to be able to jump into a warm car (like having a remote start), but it is no way detrimental to the engine life unless of course the engine was poorly maintained, leaking or burning oil. According to these people that only take 30 seconds to warm up a car in cold weather it doesn’t harm the engine by driving off that soon and if that’s the case, warming it up won’t hurt it either. Most people who warm up their cars to get the heater working won’t change their habits, let alone those who are dead set that if you drive off 30 seconds after startup will have engine failures. With more car manufactures putting in remote starts, you might as well let it warm up for a few minutes, hop in.. get everything set up for the drive like the radio, seat and mirror settings and drive off.

Obviously warming up a car for 15+ minutes is a waste of gas and doesn’t really do anything, it’s not going to change those who wants to be in a hot car when they get in though, but seriously.. anything over 7 minutes to me is just overkill. Sometimes if i am driving and giving someone a ride and they are not ready in 5 minutes (after 5 minutes of warm up time, or whenever the engine temp gauge starts moving), i’ll shut the car off and wait until they are ready.

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