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. Car Care Council photo illustration

No need to ‘warm up’ modern vehicles in cold weather

Idling for 30 seconds uses more fuel than restarting engine

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, says the Car Care Council.

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.”

“Unless you are trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior of your car, idling is not required for today’s vehicles,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “In most cases, idling longer than 30 seconds is unnecessary, even on the coldest days. 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.”

The non-profit Car Care Council has a free 80-page Car Care Guide for motorists that features several pages of fuel economy and environmental awareness tips. Available in English and Spanish, the popular guide uses easy-to-understand everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon, fits easily in a glove box and can be ordered free of charge by visiting www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.