Is it Necessary to Warm Up your Car's Engine on Cold Days?

November 12th, 2014 by

warm up engine in cold weather
Do you warm up your car on cold mornings? Many of you will say yes, however several sources say it isn’t necessary.
Articles on the CNN Money and Mother Earth News websites advise that warming up your car not only wastes gas but, in the words of one article, “The problem is that letting your car sit and idle is the slowest way to bring it up to operating temperature.” The best advice is to let your vehicle run for 30 to 60 seconds to get all the fluids moving through the engine and to warm up engine in cold weather as you drive.

Warm Up Engine in Cold Weather as you Drive

Richard Backus, the editor-in-chief of Gas Engine Classics and Motorcycle Classics magazines, says in his Mother Earth News article that newer cars use electronic fuel injection. “If your car’s engine is cold, sensors relay that information to a computer, which signals the fuel injectors to stay open longer, allowing more fuel into the engine to help it run while cold,” Backus said. “As the engine warms up, the computer signals the injectors to let in less fuel and everything returns to normal, so to speak. Importantly, the faster your engine warms up, the quicker it assumes its most efficient level of operation.” Driving your car, rather than letting it sit idle, will help speed up the process of the engine warming up.
CNN holds the same sentiment. “All you need to do is drive your car gently until the engine is warmed up. Just go easy and keep those engine RPMs down until everything’s toasty, and you’ll be just fine.”

Can I Warm up my Car so I’m Warm?

Although some of us may have been warming up our cars to help the engine out, we may have also been doing it so we weren’t cold. If you are going to warm up your car be sure to do so while you are still in it. Not only is warming up the engine unnecessary, it is illegal to leave your car running while unattended in Colorado. Known as “puffing,” the act has become illegal to help lessen the number of vehicles that are stolen each year in the state. Visit the KKTV news website to learn more about puffing.
Puffing aside, when you get ready to leave on a cold morning just keep in mind, “No smoky burn-outs first thing in the morning,” the CNN article jokes.
Contact Fisher Auto at 303-245-6414 with any of your car service questions. We service all makes and models. View our latest service specials online.