Why You Let Your Car Engine Warm Up Before Driving

Taking proper care of your car can be difficult at times. Living in Atlanta, there are always things to do: long drives to work, taking the kids to ball practice, family gatherings, and more. Ensuring you receive oil changes, tire rotations, and other preventive maintenance can be hard to fit into your schedule.

However, fitting these activities into your routine every few months will protect the life of your vehicle, keeping you and your loved ones safe on the road. One way to keep your car running smoothly during an Atlanta winter is to let your engine warm up before driving.

How To Properly Let Your Engine Warm Up

There are many myths on how to warm up your car and whether warming up your vehicle is helpful or harmful. The truth is, how to properly warm up your vehicle depends on the type of vehicle you have. If your car’s model is a 1990 or earlier, it may be built with a carburetor. These older vehicles require idling, while vehicles that are a late 90s model or newer do not.
To properly warm up your car’s engine, turn the key or press the push to start button. Listen to the sounds of your car’s engine and watch the car’s RPM gauge. At first, they may present periodic changes, but after both meet a smooth and consistent manner, your car is ready to drive.

How Long Do I Warm Up My Car Before Driving?

Older vehicles, those that are a 1990 model or older, require idling for 10 or more minutes in the winter. This helps move engine oil around to all components of the car, preparing it for the cold weather. On the other hand, newer vehicles (late 90s+) do not have a carburetor, and therefore do not need to warm up as long.

Thirty seconds is usually long enough for most cars to get their oil flowing properly before take-off. Your car will continue to heat up and do so faster after you’ve begun driving. Letting your car idle for unnecessary amounts of time can actually be harmful to your engine, as it causes engine oil dilution. Although you may prefer to crank your car and get the heaters started 10-30 minutes before you leave, you may just want to grab a coat and gloves and wait for the cold temperatures out.

Why Warming Up Your Vehicle Is Important

Warming up your vehicle before driving is important for several reasons. The initial start of the engine moves oil across all necessary components of your car, acting as a lubricant to prevent destructive metal-to-metal rubbing. In addition, cold temperatures can cause parts of your engine to contract. Letting your car warm up for an appropriate amount of time will create thermal expansion, returning your engine’s parts to the correct size. Warming up your car’s engine will also warm up your vehicle’s tires, giving them a better grip and protecting you on the road. Although warming up your vehicle for prolonged periods of time use to be helpful, for newer vehicles it is not. Thirty seconds should do the trick, and it will keep your car running at a healthy rate.

What To Do If There Is An Issue

If you notice your car is having trouble cranking or making funny noises, take it to Poston Motor Company, located in Cumming, Georgia. Offering automotive services such as preventative maintenance, engine repair and replacement, brakes, heating and air, and much more, this is the one-stop shop for all your automotive needs. Located north of Atlanta, Poston Motor Company is open Monday-Friday from 8am-6pm, and accepts walk in services. Speak to a representative today. Call 678-455-5246

By |February 20th, 2017|Car Upkeep|Comments Off on Why You Let Your Car Engine Warm Up Before Driving