Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Should I Warm My Car Up in the Winter?



Ever look outside your window to see your car covered in frost and think to yourself I really don’t feel like going out there to get my car ready to go to work?

I’ve got news for you. As much as you don’t like going out there to warm it up, scrape off your windows, or clean off last night’s snow, your car hates it when you start it up and speed off on your morning commute without letting it warm up.

I realize this flies in the face of what you may have been told, but think about it. Just like you, your car needs time to warm up before you just throw it in gear and put it through the rigors of highway traffic.

During the winter, when your car sits overnight, the Engine Oil becomes cold and sinks to the bottom of your vehicle’s Engine. Then, as it sits even longer, it loses its viscosity, which is what helps it move quickly and easily to all the proper parts of your engine. If not given time to warm up, the oil will have a much harder time making its way through your engine, which means all the moving parts that need lubrication aren’t getting it the way they need to.  The viscosity isn’t restored until the Engine Oil warms up to the proper point. 

Many advice blogs will tell you that your engine only needs 30 seconds to warm up; however, as noted above, that doesn’t take into account the currently cold, sludge-like Engine Oil that still needs time to heat back up. Ask any scientist— it takes far more time and energy to heat something up than it does to cool it down.

Another thing that is said in those blogs, which is still true but often ignored, is if you do wait 30-60 seconds for the Engine to warm, it’s ok to drive as long as you drive easily. The reason for that little disclaimer is because even they know that the Engine Oil hasn’t fully warmed up, even if the engine has. Also, if you are like me, you’ve waited until the last second and don’t have time to take it easy with the car. So instead you jump in, start the car, and it’s off to the races.

Doing this to your car repeatedly will shorten the life of your engine and could wind up resulting in costly repairs. As a Repair Shop, Pugh’s Service Automotive is always ready to help should the worst happen. However, we would much rather give you advice on how to avoid potentially costly situations.

Another reason to let your car warm up first before driving it is to let your heater and defrosters kick into gear. By doing this, you might just find that you don’t have to scrape off your windows, freezing your tushy off in the process. If you are like me, that is the last thing you want to do after drinking your nice hot cup of coffee.

So, tomorrow morning when it’s cold and your windows are frosted over, remember to go out there 10 minutes early to start your car. It may not verbally give you thanks, but it will always be warm and ready for you when you hop in to begin your commute to work.

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