Myth check: Does warming the car help the engine?

10 months 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, December 07 2017 Dec 7, 2017 Thursday, December 07, 2017 6:41:00 PM CST December 07, 2017 in News
By: Aaron K. Ladd, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Cold weather months usually mean adding a couple extra minutes to your morning routine to warm up the car. Drivers who idle their cars - or run the engine without driving - believe it is necessary to bring the car back up to its normal operating temperature.

However depending on who you ask, some believe idling gets you nowhere fast.

"The fastest way to warm up a car is to accelerate," said Justin Dumas of All-Star Automotive. "By warming up your car you're basically wasting fuel, and you could potentially do more damage to a modern engine than if you would just get in it and go."

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly 3 billion gallons of fuel are wasted per year due to idling. A 2015 EPA report stated idling for more than 10 minutes does more harm than good. 

Dumas said ultimately the debate on whether "to warm or not to warm" comes down to a variety of factors including your vehicle's specific year and model and what type of oil your car uses. 

"Oil and car technology has gotten so much better through the growth of semi and full synthetics," Dumas said. "The oil is the key. [Synthetic oils] don't get as thick in cold weather as your typical conventional oil. These newer oils stay thin so there's really no need to warm up the car." 

The faster oil can travel to and though the engine, the faster your car's temperature begins to rise. Synthetic oil blends were introduced in the late 80's and are now commonplace. Domas said only about 1 percent of his customers still use conventional oil.

Despite advances in automotive technology, Chris Fulk of A-Z Auto Repair said it's better to be safe than sorry. "Personally I like to warm the vehicle up," he said.

"Your car's lubrication, coolant levels and defrosters are all affected by the temperature," Fulk said. "I think people get the wrong idea, they think it's a new car, you ought to be able to just get in and go, and that's just not the case."

Across the U.S., county and state governments have passed anti-idling laws aimed at reducing waste. For example, St. Louis City municipality prohibits idling for more than 10 minutes.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke about health care in Columbia on Friday at Laborers Local 955, as part of... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:35:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - After realizing the underrepresentation of Hispanic business owners in mid-Missouri, three Hispanic professionals established a group of 12... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the last week of the regular season and it's a cold one. Our game of... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Two Midwest companies issued separate food recalls this week for bacterial contamination concerns. Hy-Vee said its supplier,... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 4:53:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN (AP) — Toxicology tests show that a boater was drunk when he slammed into a bluff at Missouri's Lake... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:41:35 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Legion of Black Collegians and the FourFront Marginalized Student Council held a solidarity walk Friday to show... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), along with multiple medical associations, reaffirmed their opposition to the three... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the fourth consecutive year, Project Homeless Connect provided services Friday for people who are experiencing homelessness... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $1 billion, as the second-largest lottery... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 12:10:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police want the public's help finding a man who allegedly ran from a traffic stop after hurting... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 11:42:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Two MU residence halls and an atrium were officially dedicated on Friday honoring three former MU students. Lucile... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just 1 in 4 people thinks Brett Kavanaugh was completely honest when as a Supreme Court nominee... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:58:13 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The US moved closer to acknowledging the role of Saudi Arabia in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's apparent death as... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:36:16 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
RANDOLPH COUNTY - MoDOT announced they will close Randolph County Route CC from Route FF to Route K on Monday,... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 8:30:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suburban St. Louis student after finding a loaded gun and a razor inside... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:46:15 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison in the 1984 beating death... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:10:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City doctor has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for his... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 6:51:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican opponent Josh Hawley were sometimes heated and often derisive as they... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:02:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
9pm 55°
10pm 55°
11pm 55°
12am 54°