We’ve been told for years that we should let our car warm up in cold weather before driving to work, but is this actually true?
Yorkshire has been battling bitterly cold mornings since the beginning of the year, and it’s not about to get any warmer.
Commuters are set to travel to work tomorrow in 5C conditions before the temperatures drop even further to freezing the rest of the week.
This means we’ll have to continue spending the mornings de-icing our cars before setting off but we may not need to warm the engine up.
Engineering Explained has revealed that all vehicles built today, and for the last 25 years, have electronic fuel injections.
This system can make the air-fuel mixture richer when a car is cold to get a ‘complete atomization of the fuel’.
Engines with electronic fuel injection have sensors that compensate for the cold by pumping more gasoline into the engine cylinder’s mixture.
The engine will continue to run like this until it heats up to around 4C. So, driving your car is the fastest way to warm the engine up. Engineering Explained advised that you should instead drive away immediately, but gently to let the oil get up to operating temperature and avoid unnecessary wear.
Warming up the car actually comes from the days of carburetors which needed several minutes of idling to get to an operating temperature where they can run smoothly.
And, actually, idling your car can do more damage than good as it leads to raw gasoline seeping into the oil and breaking down the oil’s lubrication properties.
Washing oil off the cylinder walls means that you can reduce the life of components like piston rings and cylinder liners as the gasoline will wash away the lubricating oil. You’re also wasting extra fuel that’s being used while the engine runs rich. So, just make sure you’ve de-iced your car properly before driving away.