This Is Why You Shouldn’t Warm Up Your Car In Cold Weather

Pre-heating vehicles wastes gas and harms your engine.


Photo: Dan Carney

Starting your car and letting it idle to warm up will shorten its engine’s life. That’s the warning issued by internet car guru Jason Fenske from the YouTube channel Engineering Explained.

When firing up a ride in a cold climate—see our Bentley drive on a frozen lake in Finland—a better approach is to drive away immediately. Gentle driving warms the engine quickly without putting too much load on it before reaching operating temperature.

Photo: Dan Carney

Idling prolongs the warm-up period. Fenske warns that this can cause excess fuel to wash away and dilute critical engine oil from moving surfaces. The best solution: Reduce the time it takes to bring oil to operating temperature. Immediate light driving accomplishes that, according Fenske.

Photo: Dan Carney

We can’t tell you how to keep yourself warm in the winter, but consider this: the sooner the engine warms, the sooner the heater starts working. So quicker engine warm-ups are clearly better for both car and driver.

h/t: Road & Track