We have officially reached the winter season and if you’re like most people, you’ve likely pulled down the winter gear from the attic and you’ve gotten quite used to bundling up before you step outside into the frigid air. There are a lot more layers involved in the winter months, which tends to make it much more time consuming when you are going about your daily routine. Not to mention the fact that it’s never fun to be cold, as our bodies have the natural tendency to stiffen up as the temperatures drop.
One of the things most of us have been taught to do is to warm the car up for thirty or so minutes, to ensure that we aren’t starting up a freezing cold car. This has been done by our parents and our grandparents and it’s always worked, so why not continue the tradition of getting into a pre-started, warmed up car?
According to experts, today’s vehicles don’t operate the same way as vehicles from years ago, and it all comes down to how modern internal combustion engines operate. Back in the day, carburetors needed several minutes to heat up, whereas today’s fuel-injected engines have engine control units (ECU’s), made to work in the coldest weather. With that said, you don’t actually get as much heat as when you actually drive it.
If that isn’t enough to make you put a stop to the morning warm-up, then maybe the fact that extra fuel gets into the combustion chamber and leaks into the cylinder walls will change your mind.
“That’s a problem because you’re actually putting extra fuel into the combustion chamber to make it burn and some of it can get onto the cylinder walls,” Stephen Ciatti, a mechanical engineer who specializes in combustion engines at the Argonne National Laboratory. “Gasoline is an outstanding solvent and it can actually wash the oil off the walls if you run it in those cold idle conditions for an extended period of time.”
This also leads to premature wear and tear in crucial parts like the piston rings and cylinder liners.
Now that you are armed with this info, the best thing you can do is to get into your vehicle while it’s still cold, make sure that the windows are clear and defrosted, and start it up. It’s also a good idea to go light on the gas for the first 15 minutes or so while the engine is warming up.
If you are one of those people who despise the cold air and naturally do better in higher temps, then this news might not be great for you, but it will save you some cash in the long run, as you won’t have to fix up untimely car issues. The best thing you can do in the cold weather is to face it head-on and walk right into the frigid air. As long as you’re bundled up enough, you will find that it’s not so bad after all and actually somewhat refreshing.
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