Do You Really Need To Warm Up Your Car Before Driving?

Jason Crosby
Jan 9, 2022 · 3 min read
For those in colder climates, it’s customary to let your car idle for several minutes in the mornings or before leaving work at the end of the day. After all, it’s common knowledge that simply hopping in and driving away in chilly weather is bad for our engine. 
But many of us don’t know why it’s bad to drive your car without letting it warm up first. And although it’s definitely necessary, letting your vehicle idle for too long wastes fuel, and puts excess emissions into the environment. Follow along as we explain how to warm up your car—properly. 
A snowy car warming up in the driveway.
Most people let their car warm up for too long.

Why is it important to warm up your car?

Warming up your car might feel more comfortable to drive, but from a mechanical perspective, it saves your engine’s components from being exposed to excessive wear and tear. Here’s what warming up your vehicle does, according to Consumer Reports
  • Allows your engine to lubricate itself with oil 
  • Increases the chances of your engine lasting 200,000 miles or more
  • Allows your windshield defogger to clear away snow and ice
By letting your car warm up, instead of just driving it cold, allows the engine’s components to disperse oil evenly throughout every moving part. Without the proper warmup time, you can risk damaging your engine’s pistons, which may warp or experience undue wear as a result of being driven cold. 
 

How long does it take to warm up your car? 

Though some drivers like to let their car sit and idle for 15 minutes or more, this is actually not necessary. In fact, most modern cars are able to successfully circulate oil within 20-30 seconds, even if the engine’s temperature is still cool. 
Older cars may need up to a minute or more, but unless the temperature dips into the negatives, most drivers can save on fuel and reduce their carbon footprint by cutting back on idle time. 
This might mean a cold cabin temperature, but the more steps that can be taken to reduce our impact as drivers on the planet, the better. Besides—over 20 states can slap drivers with a large fine for letting their vehicles idle unnecessarily. 
Save yourself the headache and some change at the pump; a minute in the driveway or parking lot is enough to warm up most cars
 

Jerry can help you stay insured this winter

Driving in snow, ice, and chilly temperatures? Now that you know how to warm up your car, make sure that you’re insured this winter with help from Jerry. We offer affordable car insurance quotes within minutes, from top providers across the country. 
Shop between different policies, types of coverage, and more. There’s no need to waste time being idle; we make finding the right insurance for your vehicle easy.

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