Drivers may be wasting time and energy by warming up their cars in the winter.

Is Warming Up A Car Necessary?

December 7th, 2016 by

Drivers may be wasting time and energy by warming up their cars in the winter.

On a cold winter morning, you probably start your car well before it is time for you to leave in order to give the engine time to warm up. This habit is heavily ingrained in the morning routines of many winter drivers who assume that their engine fluids need to be at a certain temperature to function properly.

As it turns out, this is largely a myth. Drivers may be wasting time and energy to complete a task that hasn't been necessary for years.

An article in Popular Mechanics explained that this belief is rooted in the days when most cars relied on carbureted engines. Carburetors combine gasoline and air into the correct mixture needed for combustion. But they were relatively rudimentary devices, and were not able to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio needed for cold weather. As such, a little warming up was necessary before hitting the road.

Today, most modern cars use fuel injection systems that can adjust this ratio with much greater precision. As such, letting a car idle in the winter is just a way to waste fuel.

In fact, Business Insider reported that letting a car warm up for too long will actually harm its engine. The higher ratio of fuel to air that engines need when they are cold results in more gasoline residue on cylinder walls – and since gas is a solvent, this can actually clean off much needed oil.

If you own a newer car, the quickest way to get the engine warm is to drive it. Plus, you'll be able to heat the interior as well.

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