Oh the weather outside is frightful…

Yesterday was the official start of Winter. While this means many good things (the days are getting longer again, Christmas and New Years Eve are days away, and the start of the NASCAR season is right around the corner) it also means that we are entering the coldest driving months of the year. Just like in Summer when heat can negatively impact your car’s engine and performance, the cold of Winter can be just as damaging. What should you do to make sure you get where you need to go this Winter without breaking down and huddling for warmth on the side of the road while waiting for a tow truck?

Many people believe the key to Winter driving is to warm up the engine before hitting the road. We’ve probably all heard this advice from our fathers and grandfathers. Who hasn’t slipped out to the car a few minutes before the morning commute to turn it on so that you didn’t freeze your fingers or bottom off? But, it turns out, letting the engine warm up before driving doesn’t do any good, at least for anything other than your frozen fingers. Watch this video and hear Pat Goss explain why letting your engine warm up can actually harm your vehicle more than help it.

You have questions. Pat Goss has answers.

Is it a bad idea to let my car warm up before driving in the cold?

Now you may ask, “Why is it a bad idea to let your car warm up for a long time before driving it?” Well, that’s pretty simple. When you let the car sit in idle the only thing you are warming up is the coolant in the engine. Not the engine oil, not the power steering, the brake system, the transmission, the differential, or any of these other systems on the car. That doesn’t mean, “Ok, I’ve got a warm engine! I’m going to go out a drive it like crazy!” It means you could be overstressing other parts and causing excessive wear.

So, a minute to a minute and a half of warm up. Then drive it gently until everything reaches normal temperature.

CARCHEX wishes you and yours a Happy Holidays. Be safe on the roads and enjoy what time you have off.