Myth check: Does warming the car help the engine?

1 year 1 month 1 week 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
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's budget and State of the State address Wednesday... More >>
25 minutes ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:55:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is proposing a $351 million bond to repair or replace 250... More >>
51 minutes ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:29:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
Watch KOMU 8 newscasts and download the KOMU WX app for live coverage and alerts. COLUMBIA - Another winter... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:23:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA – An expert warns that two snow events, one after the other, may affect your roof. Although city... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 6:38:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The man killed after allegedly shooting at St. Louis detectives was facing charges for shooting a... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:15:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A former student alleges in a lawsuit that Drury University didn't protect her after she was sexually... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:06:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The friend of a man killed on Sarazen Drive over the weekend says investigators told him John Albers... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:46:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A University of Missouri-Kansas City professor has resigned after being accused of coercing foreign graduate students... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 2:46:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD — A Missouri health provider will have to pay tens of millions of dollars to a former patient... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 1:13:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Applications are now available for a giveaway designed to provide computers for low-income families. The city relinquishes... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:26:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney general Eric Schmitt announced a settlement with Fiat Chrysler and auto parts supplier Bosch over unlawful... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 11:05:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri will open residence halls a day earlier than planned amid predictions of another winter... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:04:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Governor Mike Parson will give his first State of the State address in the Missouri House... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:25:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Staring down the next deadline to pay federal workers, the White House shifted tactics, trying to bypass... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:57:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mayoral incumbent Brian Treece and opponent, Chris Kelly, faced off in the second mayoral candidate forum Tuesday. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 9:27:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
OVERLAND (AP) — The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis is investigating a fatal shooting outside a McDonald's restaurant... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:37:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A new bill before the Senate would ban texting and driving for drivers of all ages. It's... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:24:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City police say people at one address fired 360 shots from at least nine guns... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:46:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 34°
11pm 32°
12am 32°
1am 33°
2am 33°