Should I Warm My Car Before Driving In The Winters?

Should I Warm My Car Before Driving In The Winters?

An age-old question which typically should have a straight answer, but a lot of factors get in the way. What kind of vehicle do you have? Is it a fuel-injected engine or a carburetted one? I’ll answer for both kinds of engines and let you know why in detail below – Fuel Injected Engines do not need to be pre-warmed, even in the winters. Carbureted engines have to be warmed before you can drive off during the winters.

Why You Should Not Idle Your Car During The Winters?
It is one of the biggest myths of modern times that your cars need to be idling for a while before it’s safe to drive off. Many people believe this is especially true, especially during winters. You could actually be harming your modern car by doing this. Most modern vehicles have fuel injection technology. It means that it compensates the amount of fuel that actually goes into the engine to burn especially during colder weather. The longer you leave your car idling the more fuels pumped into the system and more oil is pumped out of the pistons which could actually cause more harm than good.

How Long Is Long Enough To Idle The Car During Winters?

To be very honest the ideal time will differ based on the make and model of the car but one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that it should not be more than a minute. In fact, even a minute is pushing it and you should be looking at times as low as 30 seconds. What you do need to be careful about is to make sure your defroster is working properly. The best way to actually build-up to the optimum temperature is to drive slowly till your car sounds and feels comfortable to drive. But only do that if you can see clearly through your windows. Some cars even have a speedy defrost function to help you drive away quickly so you don’t keep your car in idle and damage your engine for too long.

Why Do Cars With Carburetors Need To Be Idled?

Cars with Fuel Injection and Carburetors work on two similar but distinct techniques. Carbureted engines need to mix fuel and air to run the engine. But they’re a remnant of ancient time without sensors to gauge how much fuel needed to be pushed in or the amount of air it was required. What they had instead was a “choke” system that you pulled to control the air intake. A choke can help start your engine quicker and leaving it on for a while will help smoothen things out in your engine department. Your oil gets fluid enough, the pistons start pumping at their optimum levels and you’re free to go after a couple of minutes of idling.


Even if you don’t need to idle your car doesn’t mean you should simply zoom off the parking lot. If its already cold outside you need to take it light and easy for two reasons. The first is purely pragmatic, the roads might be slippery and you need to get a feel of the roads before you can start getting faster. The second more important reason is to ensure that you increase the temperature of your engine slowly. If you feel like you’ve damaged your engine or would like to have a routine auto check-up and repairs done in Calgary give us, The Car Salon a call. We’re experts in automotive repair and cover everything under a single roof. Get in touch with the experts today!

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