If you live in a place that has cold winters or just cold winter mornings and evenings, you are likely familiar with the routine of sitting in your car, waiting for it to heat up before you hit the road. That is something we have been told for ages that we have to do in order for our car to run properly and smoothly. But is this something that is actually necessary for us to do still, or is it just an outdated habit that has been wired into our daily routines?
It turns out, experts say you not only do not need to heat your car before driving, but you actually should not!
Modern engines used in cars made today do not require a lot of time prior to hitting the road. This applies to engines going back to the 80s and 90s, which was when the first cars were made that made the switch from a carburetor to an electronic fuel injection process. In cars using carburetors, if it did not properly heat up before being used, your car could stall out. However, now that is simply not a concern anymore. Engines with carburetors took more time to send fuel to the engine and had to reach a certain temperature in order for the fuel to flow easily.
With modern technology, a car’s electronic fuel injections process has sensors which quickly send a flow of fuel to the engine. This means very little time is actually needed to activate this process. Essentially, you need just about 30 seconds before you are good to go for this process to be done. By the time you have turned on your car, connected your seatbelt, and gotten settled, your engine is ready to drive!
The only remaining issue lies with oil and defrosting.
Obviously, if your car is covered in ice or the windshield has a layer of haze over it, you want to get that melted off before hitting the road. If you cannot see through the windshield in order to drive safely, even if the engine is ready to go, you should wait until you can see.
Oil distribution is another factor that requires some heating. In order for oil to properly lubricate the engine’s mechanisms, it has to be somewhat heated. However, just like with the engines themselves, modern tech has made oil lubrication much quicker and easier. At most, your car will only need about a minute to heat up and lubricate itself. If you sit there longer, (some states report people waiting up to 20 minutes to heat up a car) you simply waste gas and generate more unnecessary emissions.