The Truth About Warming Up Your Car

Young Adults Enjoying a Winter Outing

Like anyone else in Morristown, TN, you have experienced what it is like to get into a cold car. The last thing you want to do in this situation is to get in and immediately drive off. It feels much better and makes for a much more pleasant ride to let the car run for a bit and warm up. This is a common practice. However, it’s largely an unnecessary one. The idea of letting your car get warm for 10 or so minutes is a thing of the past. It is important to understand why you don’t need to do this any longer.

Older Engines Needed it More

Up until about the mid-1990s, cars used carburetors to give the engine the necessary mixture of fuel and air to start up and run. However, today, cars have fuel injector systems, which are more precise. In a carburetor-based engine, the car needed time to warm up to run effectively in cold temperatures.

With carburetors, the intake manifolds that ran the fuel to the engine cylinders would let the fuel pool if the metal was not heated and turned the fuel to vapor. This could cause stalling and unreliability. To deal with this issue, people were advised to run their engines for several minutes when it was cold. This would also help the fuel to move through the engine more effectively so you could be ready to head out in cold weather.

Oil Has Improved Too

Another reason is that oil is better than it used to be. In the past, oil did not move well through the vehicle in cold temperatures, making the car sluggish. Today, oil flows more efficiently through the engine, lubricating the components well.

How Long is Enough?

For convenience sake, it still may be useful to let your car run for a little bit before driving. When temperatures plunge, you may feel uncomfortable behind the wheel. Allowing the car to heat up a little bit can make for a more tolerable start to the ride. However, it shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to warm up the interior sufficiently. Plus, the engine should be ready to roll by this time. Some newer vehicles even have an on-dash indicator of when the engine is cold, but this should go off shortly.

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For Defrosting

Another reason to let your car run for 30 seconds before driving in cold weather is for the defroster. This function can melt the ice and remove condensation from your windshield and windows so you can drive safely. But in most cars, the defroster can work well in a matter of seconds.

Be aware of these facts about warming up your car. It doesn’t require much time to get the engine ready to head out, even in cold weather. If you are concerned about this, talk to the capable service team at Tarr Hyundai in Morristown, Tennessee.

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