Should I Warm Up My Car in the Morning? Tempe AZ

Cold engine start 3-02-15Old dogs, new tricks. Or more accurately, the elimination of an old trick. Today I learned something new. I’ve owned a car of my own for over 40 years and nearly every day of that 40 years I’ve started my car and warmed it up for 5 minutes or so before I drove it away. Turns out that’s completely unnecessary and even a little counterproductive.

Back in the day, nearly all cars used carburetors. Very few cars were fuel injected and the cars that were used mechanical injection rather that the electronic injection we have now and relatively speaking, mechanical fuel injection stank. Driving a carbureted vehicle before it’s warmed up is a challenge. They’ll buck and snort and backfire until the engine gets close to its’ proper operating temperature then smooth out and behave themselves. Modern fuel injection eliminates that problem. The computer that controls your engine is able to adjust fuel flow to the engine so well that the old drivability issues just don’t exist. Additionally, sitting and warming your cars’ engine prolongs the time required for your catalytic converters to reach their optimal operating temperature. Plus, when your car is sitting at idle you’re getting zero miles per gallon.

You might say But! But! But! When your engine is cold all the parts haven’t yet expanded from heat yet so they’re not fitting together just as they should plus cold affects the metal in the engine and makes it brittle. OK, you have one valid point and one sort of myth. I didn’t say start the car and just mash the skinny peddle to the floor. Be a little gentle to begin with and let ‘er warm up while driving. As far as the cold causing the metal to become brittle, yeah, I suppose but we’re talking about the kind of cold that just doesn’t exist in Arizona.

So, start it up, drive it away and don’t worry about warming it up.
From your Local Mechanics, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete auto repair and maintenance.