(KTXL) — It’s not uncommon during the wintertime to see people sitting in their driveway with their car running, waiting for their vehicle to warm up, but is there any reason to do this in modern vehicles?
It is important to warm up your engine in colder weather, but the length of time in which it needs to warm up is less than most might think, according to research firm JD Power.
Warming up your engine allows components that touch other metal parts to get properly lubricated to reduce the possibility of rubbing and wearing.
Letting your engine warm up also allows parts to return to their operating position and size as the cold weather can cause some parts to shrink and potentially cause cracking if they are strained without being warmed up.
Modern oil pumps quickly pump oil out of the pan at the bottom of the car and into the engine in about a few seconds, according to JD Power.
“In modern vehicles, engine lubrication takes about 20 to 30 seconds,” JD Power wrote on their website. “Whenever you hop in, start the car, put the seat belt on, and get situated, the engine might not reach the proper temperature but will always be fully lubricated.”
Most people in modern vehicles will find the fastest and easiest way to warm up their vehicle is to start driving once the engine is lubricated.
“Driving the car normally and avoiding hard acceleration brings the engine to a warmer temperature faster, and also reduces wear and exhaust emissions,” AAA wrote on its website.
Those driving vehicles made before the mid-90s or one that has a carburetor may need to let their car idle for a little bit longer, according to JD Power.
Engines with carburetors should let the vehicle idle for a few minutes, as drivers may risk dealing with poor engine performance. However, JD Power says that anything beyond a few minutes simply wastes fuel and does not provide additional benefits.
“Older cars, which relied on carburetors, did need warming up to work well,” JD Power wrote on its website. “Without warming up, the carburetor would not be able to get the right mix of air and fuel in the engine, and the car would stall out.”