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Cold Weather and Hard Facts

January 11, 2011
It's time for some cold weather driving. Break out your snow tires, flip on your AWD, and remember to steer into the spin. The Canton Daily Ledger answers several car myths about oil changes, work from the dealership, and even washing your car with dishwashing soap. However, my favorite is this cold weather classic:

– Myth: My car engine needs to warm up before driving.

During winter months, it is a common practice for drivers to warm their vehicles up inside, but a cold engine will warm up faster when it is being driven instead of idling. If you use your car infrequently, take a few minutes to warm up your car before you drive away. This allows cold, thick oil to warm up, protecting your engine from damage. For cold weather starts, all you need is 30 seconds to ensure proper oil flow and lubrication. In the event of frigid temperatures, driving at a slower speed for a few miles will give your car enough time to warm up.

I'm not saying we trust all our car advice to some yahoo who lives in Illinois (Junior Damato, the Talking Cars columnist) but I wish my neighbors would read his advice. Because I'm sick of hearing their "pimped out", muffler tuned little POS car idling and being revved up for 30-40 minutes every night usually while I'm trying to enjoy dinner or even better while I'm trying to sleep. It doesn't even sound like a proper car. It sounds like someone's mowing their lawn, but then irritatingly revving their lawnmower, and of course it's obnoxious noise is also likely tuned to carry some distance so it's a really loud lawnmower.

It's great they take their car seriously, and it appears they race other vehicles of theirs (which must be how they pay the mortgage since none of them ever seem to leave to go to work, coke dealer also comes to mind). I'm not a specifically automotive engineer, but it's my understanding engine idle is one of the most wearing portions of an engine's life. An engine wants to be in cruise speed. It does make me wonder why so many aircraft engines require such extensive warm-up periods in comparison, but honestly it doesn't get that cold where I'm at, and they don't even drive it anywhere afterwards. Automative engines are pretty hardy stuff. So stop idling your lawnmower all night. Thanks.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 3:44 am

    I have to disagree. When it's getting well below freezing, there's no way that 30 seconds is enough. (Not that 30 minutes is necessary, either.)I've noticed that it's not just the oil that needs warming up, but belts and other things. If it's been a couple days since I've driven my car, I usually let it warm up for five minutes…or however long it takes me to brush the snow and scrape the windows from the outside.

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