Cold winter mornings take their toll on all of us….this especially holds true for our vehicles. As long as I can remember, I was always told to “warm up my car” in preparation for my drive to work, school or wherever I was going. Cranking up your vehicle and letting it idle for several minutes is not as beneficial as you may think. On the contrary, you are spending money given that you are burning fuel and not leaving the driveway and causing harm to your vehicle and the environment.
You warm your car up by driving it. To operate properly, your vehicle needs to warm up other parts in addition to the engine (tires, wheel bearings, transmission, etc). A vehicle’s catalytic converter does not function at its peak until it reaches over 500 degrees. The efficiency of modern fuel injection eliminates the need to let your car sit and idle. After about 30 seconds, the oil in your vehicle is circulating well so at that point, you can put your vehicle in gear and GO.
Excessive idling can actually cause damage to vehicle components such as spark plugs, exhaust systems and cylinders. Since your engine does not operate at peak performance when idling, fuel does not undergo complete combustion. The result is fuel residue on cylinder walls (which can contaminate oil) and spark plugs. As you spend more time idling, the average temperature of a spark plug drops. The spark plug gets dirtier quicker, and fuel consumption increases. Excessive idling also leads to water condensation in your vehicle’s exhaust, which can lead to a shorter life for your exhaust system. In addition to negative impacts on your vehicle, idling has been linked to global warming and increased health problems for individuals.
Remember that it’s worth it to drive with a little chill in your bones to prolong the life of your vehicle. Whether you are driving a VW, Audi, Honda, Toyota or any other import or domestic vehicle, the consensus is the same. Not to mention that an idling vehicle gets ZERO miles to the gallon. Thankfully, Spring is just around the corner !!