Wonderful Engineering

Here’s Why You Don’t Need To Warm Up Your Car In Winters

Do you remember the time when folks would warm up the car before driving off since it was cold outside? Well, those days are long gone and you don’t need to warm up the car anymore unless your car is from the 1980s. Before we jump into why you should not do that, let’s talk about Why did they do it in the first place.

Cars from that era featured carburetors that featured a small twisting plate to control the amount of air and fuel to be introduced into the engine. Now, if the carburetor was too cold it would inhibit its working and the end result was that the ratio of air and fuel got haywire resulting in the car to seize up or run smoky. The air and fuel mix above a car’s pistons and the mix is then compressed via an upward stroke of the piston before it is ignited and this pushes the piston back down.

Lucky for us, the very last car equipped with a carburetor that was sold in the US was the 1990 Subaru Justy. There are, therefore, not many carburetor-equipped cars in the US now. The cars that were sold later on featured electronic fuel-injection systems that make use of sensors for keeping the ratio of air and fuel right. Since they make use of sensors, the ratio isn’t affected by cold temperatures.

This doesn’t mean that you should just scoot away in a car as soon as you start it. As per fuel efficiency advice given by the EPA and the DOE, “Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds.” Ray Magliozzi, co-host of the ‘Car Talk’ said, “The proper procedure is to start the car. If it starts and keeps running, put it in drive and go.” Idling your car has been identified as a considerable source for the CO2 emissions by environmental groups.

The following infographic has been created by Sustainable America and as per it, Americans spend about 16 minutes idling per day on average, which is equivalent to driving eight miles. The myth that the engine starting consumes more fuel as compared to idling is also a bag of lies.