Vehicle Warm Up on Cold Days

While we don’t get as many cold days as they get up north, we still do have our share of them. It is that time of the year when many motorists wonder if they need to let their vehicle warm up or idle before driving. In fact, today’s modern cars are ready to drive in cold temperatures without excessive idling.

The idea of idling before driving dates back to when cars were built with carburetors. With new fuel-injection technology, complex computer systems and thinner synthetic oils, drivers don’t need to warm up their cars before hitting the road.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency

“When a car idles for more than 30 seconds, it has several negative effects, such as increasing air pollution unnecessarily, wasting fuel and money, and causing excessive wear or even damaging a car’s engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs and the exhaust system. Contrary to popular belief, idling isn’t an effective way to warm up most car engines.”

The best way to warm up your car’s engine is to drive gently at the start. Remember, a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when idling and the result is lower fuel economy and wasted money.

It’s always a good idea to take time out to treat your car special.

Here’s a list to take extra care for your car.

  • Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  • Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Make sure heaters, defrostersand wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Check the hoses and belts that can become loose, cracked, brittle, frayed or show signs of excessive wear.
  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
  • Check that the gas cap is not loose, damaged or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
  • Check to see that exterior and interior lightswork and headlights are properly aimed.

reprinted from the Car Care Council

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