How Long Should You Let Your Car ‘Warm Up’ Before Driving?
With a bunch of stories in the news about vehicles being stolen while they are left running in driveways and retail parking lots, I decided to ask a question that many of us here in Minnesota may already know the answer to. How long should you let your car 'warm-up' before you start driving in the morning, or after it has sat awhile in the cold? The answer, about the amount of time it takes you to fasten your seatbelt, according to AAA.
AAA notes that all that is needed for cars today is enough time that the engine has gotten enough 'lubricating oils to the vital parts', which doesn't take very long. AAA does state however that you can let your vehicle run while you are clearing the windshield and windows of ice and snow.
So where did this myth of allowing the car several minutes of warming up begin? Well according to this NPR article, going out and warming up the car was a necessary evil of living where the temps drop to near-zero back before 1980. One of those reasons what that the vital lubricants in the engine weren't composed of the materials they are today, and in the 80s vehicles started coming equipped with fuel injection, which helped keep your car from stalling out or refusing to start.
Now if you want to have a warm car, as in comfortable to sit in, that's another story, then you might want to invest in a car starter that will run the engine, but not allow anyone to drive it if the keys aren't in the ignition.
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