You Could Damage Your Car When You Warm it Up in the East Texas Cold
As you wake this morning, temperatures will be in the single digits across East Texas with wind chills below zero. In other words, its miserably cold outside. The less time we spend in that brutal cold the better. As we head out for work or for some last minute Christmas shopping, we will want to warm up our car before heading out. We might want to rethink that routine as it turns out it could be damaging to our vehicles.
Before Fuel Injection
Cars used to have carburetors that would regulate the air-fuel mixture ratio in an engine (firestonecompleteautocare.com). When the weather would get cold, the carburetor wouldn't be able to vaporize all the gasoline. That left over liquid could case a stall out. For the carburetor to fully work properly, it would need some time to warm up before driving off.
Electronic Fuel Injection
Any modern car has electronic fuel injection. This system is designed to maintain an ideal air-fuel mixture no matter the temperature outside. That means there is no need to warm up your car before heading out. Its better to start the car, scrape the windshield then get in and head out for the day. Your car will actually warm up faster as you drive it, not while its just sitting there running.
How can "warming up" the car damage the engine?
Idling your car in cold weather will actually strip away oil from the cylinders and pistons. This will cause unnecessary friction which leads to more wear and tear which will lead to a shorter engine life. In some states, including some Texas counties and cities, it is illegal to idle your vehicle for long periods of time. You're also wasting a lot of gas by idling your vehicle to warm up.
Idling your car in the cold not only wastes fuel, but it's also stripping oil from critical components that help your engine run, namely cylinders and pistons. - Stephen Ciatti, mechanical engineer, Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois
I know its extremely cold this morning and we want some warmth to start our commute. Just grin and bare it for a few minutes and it'll be nice and toasty in your vehicle's cab.