In the winter time, getting out of bed and facing the day is just a little bit harder. I, personally, need to take a moment to prepare with a cup of coffee to warm me up. But what about the cold vehicles we are about to climb into to take us where we need to go – don’t they need some warm up time, too? Despite a common misconception, the answer is actually no.
While cars used to require warming up in the days of carburetor fuel systems, today’s cars are equipped with fuel-injection technology, computer systems, and thinner synthetic oils. These new developments make warm ups unnecessary in newer cars.
Instead of warming up your vehicle by letting it idle, try taking it easy as you hit the road.
According to the Car Care Council, warming up, or idling longer that 30 seconds is unnecessary. A better way to warm up an engine is to drive slowly as you begin your trip. As you pull out of your driveway or parking lot, do not gun the engine, instead just take it slow for the first few minutes as you head down the road.
While warming up the car may not do anything for the car mechanically, starting your car before you are ready to go can get the car warmed up for your comfort. Keep in mind, though, warming your car does have some drawbacks. Idling reduces fuel economy and causes excessive wear or stress on engine components, such as cylinders, spark plugs, and the exhaust system. Another reason why warming up is not such a great idea is pollution. A vehicle that idles for more than 30 seconds increases air pollution.
It is easy to underestimate the impact of one car, but together, we can make a significant reduction in air pollution.
Are you ready for the cold? How about your car? Believe it or not, cold weather can have serious effects on your vehicle. Cold weather maintenance involves preventative measures of all sorts.
Here are five important items you should add to your to-do list, to make sure that your car is ready for the cold weather:
- Fill your antifreeze: When was the last time you checked or refilled your antifreeze? If it’s been a awhile, then your car could definitely use it.
- Check your oil: If your car is due for an oil change, consider refilling it with a lower viscosity oil, which does a better job of handling extreme temperatures. The lower the viscosity, the thinner it is, and the more it will retain its fluidity in cold temperatures.
- Stock up on emergency items: Preparing your car for a winter season includes packing some emergency items in your trunk/back seat. Items include: an ice scraper, blanket, first-aid kit, extra clothes, flashlight, jumper cables, and anything else you think you might need in case of emergency. Of course, this is completely out of precaution, but it always helps to be prepared.
- Monitor tire pressure: Even the slightest temperature changes can impact tire pressure. Make sure to check the optimal tire pressure on the label of the driver’s side door frame or in your owner’s manual.
- Think about new tires: Especially in adverse conditions, car tires are one of the only things keeping you from a major spin out, collision, and other roadside disasters. Chances are if you’ve been thinking about getting new ones, you probably need them.
Before holiday season festivities fill up your schedule, take care of these winter car care items. You will be prepared when the winter weather arrives in full force.