Warming up a cold engine: Good practice or winter myth? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Warming up a cold engine: Good practice or winter myth?

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With temperatures heading toward zero, should you warm up your car engine before driving?  Some say yes, others say no.

A recent survey found that on average Americans thought they should idle their car for five minutes before driving when the temperature dips before freezing. The thinking is that it allows the oil to circulate through the engine.

"Let it warm up and get everything moving and a little bit of heat going on before you start to drive," said Dave Rach of Canfield.

 It was a common practice for cars before the mid-1990's, before the auto industry switched to electronic fuel injection.

"They use to have carburetors and you had a little bit of trouble getting the air and gas mixture running through the engine," said Tony Valliquette of Sweeney Chevrolet.

Newer cars have electronic fuel injection with sensors that monitor and adjust to temperature conditions. Others say your oil will warm up faster if you're driving. 

 "It makes your engine work a little harder when you're actually driving so it will cause your vehicle to heat up a  little quicker," Valiquette said. 
A popular feature on newer cars is the remote start with a phone app. With one click on your phone, you can start your car from your office,  or while making the morning coffee in the kitchen.

The EPA says warm up idling is a leftover practice that can waste billions of gallons of gas annually,  and adds to pollution unnecessarily. So you'll have to make your own decision.  

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