Do you need to warm your car up a few minutes before driving in the winter?
No, this is not necessary.
U.S. Department of Energy, AAA Mid-Atlantic Region, fueleconomy.gov,
We're all feeling the cold and looking for ways to stay warm like when we get into our frigid parked cars!
We've all heard the idea of warming up your vehicle for a few minutes before driving in the winter to avoid stalling—but is necessary for your vehicle?
Fueleconomy.gov, source for all things fuel efficiency related, say most manufacturers recommend NOT idling your car to warm it up in the winter, instead drive your car gently after 15 to 30 seconds of getting in, this helps warm the engine up faster and insures that oil gets to all of the engine's important parts.
Next, The Department of Energy said idling increases wear on your engine and letting your car run can use a quarter to half a gallon of fuel per hour and even more if the engine is cold.
AAA Mid-Atlantic Region District Director Jim Spires, told WUSA9 researchers, "If you average ten minutes a day during the three winter months that we normally have in this area you can figure on that’s about 11 hours of additional wear and tear on your vehicle and on average about 5.5 gallons of gasoline… if it’s a personal preference that’s not a problem, you can warm it up and be ready to go but these vehicles are designed to be started up and driven.”
According to AAA, back when automobile engines still used breaker-point ignitions to fire the spark plugs, and carburetors to mix gasoline and air, letting a car run for a few minutes before driving away would help improve performance, particularly in cold weather. However, every car sold in the U.S. for more than 20 years now has been equipped with electronic ignition and fuel-injection systems that enable them to start quickly and run smoothly at virtually any temperature.
And don't keep those seat warmers on too long, they require extra power from your car, the Department of Energy says. But a tip to remember, always try to park in enclosed places like garages that traps heat in and keeps the temperature of your car higher compared to outside.