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Warming Up Your Vehicle

Updated on September 9, 2016


Unless you've been around for a few decades and drove a vehicle with a carburetor, it is unnecessary to warm up the vehicle by idling before driving. It is old habits and false facts that created a myth which enforced by many drivers to believe that warming up their vehicle for a few minutes is necessary to avoid some kind of damage the engine, transmission, etc.

Simple definition of carburetors

Carburetors were used in vehicles in the place of electronic fuel injection before the 1990s. Simple description is a small plate controlled by throttle to suck air into the engine and to control the fuel mixture. Warming up carbureted vehicles were necessary because the carburetor will not operate efficiently if it is too cold - will either operate too rich or too lean - which will cause the vehicle to stall or run smoky. Also, in either of those situations, it can cause internal damage to the vehicle's components.

The facts

It is completely true that a vehicle will operate smoother, more fuel efficient, and cause less harm to the vehicle's components when the vehicle is fully warmed up to operating temperature (all sensors and systems in closed loop).

But here are the points to remember:

1. It is more effective warming up the vehicle by driving than idling it. But before the vehicle is fully warmed up, it is recommended to drive the vehicle at a normal and steady pace (under 3000rpm) than driving it hard.

2. It is better to shut off the vehicle instead of idling the vehicle. After about 10 seconds, you will be wasting more money running the engine than restarting it.

3. Idling forces an engine to operate inefficiently and in fuel rich mode (more unburnt fuel in the combustion camber) which will cause the vehicle performance and fuel efficiency to degrade overtime.

4. By idling, not only that it is costing you money and you are getting nowhere, you are also creating pounds and pounds of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas), carbon monoxide, and other noxious gas, which is polluting our world and harming our children, family, friends, and wildlife.

5. Remote starters can too easily cause people to warm up their cars for 5 to 15 minutes, which is generally unnecessary. It will be more effective and cheaper if you have a block heater!


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