Are you riding around in a new Toyota Camry or still hauling around in that old ’87 Chevy pickup? Whether you should let your vehicle idle on a cold winter morning depends entirely on your engine.
Normally, giving your vehicle a chance to warm up is an outdated concept that died with the carburetor. Carburetors, during colder weather, had trouble finding the right mix of air and fuel in the engine. Electronic fuel injectors, however, self-monitor due to sensors and don’t have the same problems, negating the need for idling.
How long is too long?
Take a second and consider what would normally be the perfect amount of time to let your car warm up in the morning. Got it? How much time your vehicle actually needs is less than a minute. Your vehicle actually warms up better while being driven, not by sitting still in a parking lot of drive way and idling.
Consider the cost!
It’s a well known fact that fuel efficiency is worse in the winter than warmer times of the year, but the other big culprit for reducing fuel efficiency? Idling. Most idling is unavoidable, such as being stuck in a traffic jam, or stopping at a red light, but letting you vehicle ‘warm up’ is avoidable. An idling vehicle is wasting gas, and you’re getting nothing from that used gas.
Look, at the end of the day we all know why we let our vehicles idle, and for 95% of us, it has nothing to do with ‘giving the engine a chance to warm up.’ It’s really about us. If it’s cold outside, it’s cold in your vehicle. No one wants to drive to work on a blustery January day while freezing their nose off in their car. That’s why we suggest finding a balance to warming up.
Our suggestion is to make sure your windshield and doors are clear of snow and ice before turning your vehicle on. It’s nice to have the defroster turned on to help the clearing process, but is it worth the cost of wasted gasoline? That’s entirely up to you, but our suggestion is to clear snow and ice, hop in the vehicle, start it up and give it thirty seconds or so to get going and then head on out. This is, in our opinion, the optimal amount of warm up time needed.
Remember – if you’re driving a newer vehicle, idling isn’t helpful, but if you’re a lover of vintage vehicles and you are riding around with a carburetor, know your vehicle and give it sufficient time in the morning.