4 Reasons Warming Up Your Car is a Bad Idea
When temperatures plummet in the Winston Salem, North Carolina area, warming up your car is what people do before heading out. Sure, no one wants to touch an icy steering wheel or sit in frigid seats, but is this comfort measure better for you than it is your vehicle?
Why You Should Reconsider Warming Up Your Vehicle?
The weather in North Carolina isn’t nearly as cold as some other states. However, it can be challenging to adjust from temperatures in the 90-degree range to those just above freezing. There’s nothing like a toasty car with clear windows to make your commute more manageable, but here are some reasons why warming up your car isn’t a good idea.
1. Contaminates the Environment
Air quality is a big issue, especially if you live closer to the big cities like Winston Salem. Greenhouse gas emissions destroy the atmosphere and send pollutants into the air, which is a known factor for climate change. When your car is running idle, you’re wasting fuel and sending the toxins in the air that not only destroy the planet but also are harmful to your lungs.
Now, this isn’t just a problem in the winter season, as people cooling down their car in the summer can cause just as much of an issue. Even sitting in traffic waiting for the light to turn or an accident to clear can cause these emissions. Did you know that vehicles are responsible for almost two percent of the greenhouse gas emissions released into the air in this country? It’s shocking to consider that a vehicle can do so much damage.
2. Uses Extra Gasoline
You already know that when you let your car idle, it’s going to use extra gas, but did you know that you can damage your cylinder walls? When your vehicle is running for more than ten minutes without moving, you run the risk of the gas making its way into these walls. Here, the fuel has the potential to sweep the oil from the engine, which can cause excessive wear and tear.
If warming up your car is a must, there’s absolutely no reason to let it run for more than 5-10 minutes. Even most remote starting systems are set to turn off after 15-20 minutes of running. It doesn’t take too long for the engine block to heat up and provide heat to your vehicle, so don’t let it idle unnecessarily.
Additionally, the prices of gasoline continue to rise. With prices well over $3.00 a gallon, do you have extra money to throw away? You can save yourself a great deal of money. A study by WBTV found that the average vehicle uses a gallon of gas each time a car warms up. If you do that once a day, this will cost you roughly $21 a week, or $84 a month.
3. Causes Unnecessary Wear and Tear on the Engine
Did you know that your car will warm up quicker when you get in and drive it compared to warming up your car? Letting it sit and run idle will take longer as driving heats up the engine faster due to friction. When you let your car sit and run idle, it’s not good for your overall engine health.
An article published by Popular Mechanics states some shocking facts. These experts say that a vehicle that doesn’t go through the normal warming-up phase will last longer than one that’s let run idle continuously. You can prolong the life of your engine by getting in and going, regardless of the temperature. Since a new engine or vehicle replacement is quite expensive, it’s worth considering.
4. You’re at an Increased Risk of Auto Theft
While NC has a lower rate of auto thefts than other states around the country, it’s certainly a concern. According to a study listed on MSN, there were 15,000 car stolen in 2015 alone, and the numbers have continued to rise. These staggering numbers mean that you must be careful when warming up your car and leaving your car unattended.
A vehicle that’s running idle is an invitation for grand theft auto. If you don’t have a self-start system that locks while it’s running, you would need a couple of sets of keys to keep it safe. However, many people don’t bother with such measures. They leave the car unlocked, thinking that it will be safe, as they’re close by.
Sadly, even though a car might be parked in your driveway, there’s still a significant risk of it being stolen. Did you know that professional car thieves actually watch for things like this as it makes their job easier? If you allow your car to run idle without being locked, you’re a target for crime.
Final Thoughts on Warming Up Your Car
People think it’s essential to warm up their car because their parents and grandparents did it. Getting into a toasty car is a time-honored tradition that folks have grown to accept. While the previous generations may have done this trick, it was because their engines were quite different than the ones of today.
The modern internal combustion engine doesn’t require warming up your car. It was good to let the engines get warm back in the day, but the vehicles on the highways now are much more sophisticated and have a whole different setup. You’re not worried about carbonators and crank start engines, so don’t worry about warming up those up either.