Plenty of folks do it, but maybe they shouldn’t…

It’s cold out right now. Up here in the mountains of Northern California, a recent rash of storms laid many feet of snow on the ground, and although it’s great if you’re into snowboarding, the frosty weather can be hard on a car. So the question is this – when you fire up your ride in the morning, should you let it idle and warm up before driving off? The Internet is full of opinions on the matter, but Engineering Explained took the time to make this three-minute video on the pros of not doing a warm-up period for fuel-injected engines.

When you first start your engine and the temperature is low, the air-fuel mix will go rich in order to provide enough combustible vapors to keep it running, as cold temperatures lead to poor fuel atomization. When this happens, the extra fuel will eat away at the oil on the pistons and cylinder walls, leading to more wear and tear on your engine.

Engineering Explained contends that the longer your engine is cold, the longer it goes without that protecting oil coating the cylinders. The fix is to simply drive your car, as it’ll more quickly put heat into it, and thus, reduce the damaging effects of the cold. Just wait around 30 seconds, then go, but drive it lightly, as it needs to reach optimal operating temperature before you can start hammering it.

Apparently, the “myth” of letting your car warm up on cold mornings stems from the days of carbureted engines, when the air-fuel ratio wasn’t automatically adjusted based on temperature.

It’s an interesting video, and definitely worth a watch if you live in colder climates. But we wanna know – do you let your car warm up before driving? Tell us in the comments.


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