Warming up your car engine on cold mornings may be a bad idea


Everybody likes to get into a roasty, toasty vehicle with the heat blasting full force on a cold winter morning.

And the best way to do that is to warm your ride up by letting the engine idle for 10 minutes or more, right?

Not so fast…

RELATED: How Clark Howard saved me 43% on my auto insurance!

Report: Why you shouldn’t warm up your engine in the morning

A lot of people think that a cold engine needs to warm up in the morning. But the engineers at Road & Track magazine believe otherwise.

The idea that engines need to warm up to a certain operating temperature dates back to the time of carburetors. But today’s fuel-injected engines can warm up quickly even in the coldest weather.

Besides, the mainstream car magazine notes the real warming up takes place when driving — not when sitting idle.

So not only do you not need to warm up your engine, you can actually harm it by doing that over time! The idle time allows raw gasoline to get into the oil. That engine oil dilution will compromise the lubricants in the oil and actually increase wear on your engine.

OK, then…what should you do?

“Start it up, make sure all your windows are clear of ice/snow/fog, and just drive the thing! The engine will warm up faster, and therefore you’ll get nice warm heat coming out of the vents sooner, which is what you want anyway,” Road & Track writes online.

Oil changes — challenging the conventional wisdom

If you’re surprised by how the conventional wisdom on warming up your engine was challenged, what about the question of oil changes?

A 2009 Consumer Reports study put the brakes on the myth of the 3,000-mile oil change. Most owner’s manuals for newer vehicles will tell you it’s acceptable to go 5,000 miles between oil changes under normal conditions.

Between 5,000 and 7,500 mile intervals have become something of the new norm for oil changes. In fact, the magazine did not find any noticeable difference in engine protection whether you changed the oil every 3,000 or 7,500 miles.

But just because you don’t have to change your oil as often as you grew up thinking you did, don’t fall into the trap of going too long between oil changes. Experts say a $20 oil change is the best preventative maintenance you can do.

Read more: The secret to putting 1 million miles on the odometer

CarMax vehicles could have some major problems



Next Up in Business

Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs, adding 200 jobs in Ohio
Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs, adding 200 jobs in Ohio

At least one local manufacturer is celebrating the Trump administration’s move to slam down new tariffs on imported goods. Whirlpool Corp. said it is adding 200 jobs after the administration imposed a tariff of up to 50 percent on large residential washing machines, a penalty aimed squarely at rival manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and LG...
JOB ALERT: Kroger hiring for management, digital tech jobs
JOB ALERT: Kroger hiring for management, digital tech jobs

The Kroger Co. announced it is actively recruiting experienced retail, digital and technology professionals for corporate and store management roles across stores. “We want retail and digital and tech talent to know that we’re hiring,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s group vice president of human resources and labor relations. The...
Regional airport adds new Starbucks, other new dining options
Regional airport adds new Starbucks, other new dining options

John Glenn Columbus International Airport is adding another Starbucks location and several other new dining options for travelers. The airport added its fifth Starbucks location near baggage claim, operated by global restaurateur HMSHost. Other new dining options will open in Concourse C in the second quarter of 2018, the airport announced. Donatos...
Staff cuts and bankruptcy: 7 things we learned about retail last week
Staff cuts and bankruptcy: 7 things we learned about retail last week

The retail industry is shaking things up in the first month of 2018. Gander Mountain reopened some stores under a new name, while Amazon narrowed the list of contenders for its second headquarters in North America. Here’s what happened last week in retail: Gander Outdoors, formerly known as Gander Mountain, announced an initial list of retail...
It’s back. Graeter’s partners with brewery again for ice cream beer
It’s back. Graeter’s partners with brewery again for ice cream beer

Graeter’s Ice Cream and Kentucky-based Braxton Brewing Co. have partnered up again to bring back the highly popular Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Milk Stout beer. The Cincinnati-based ice cream company will re-launch its Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip flavor beer with Braxton with a few changes to the original recipe. The new batch will have...
More Stories