When you were a kid, did you ever see your old man sitting in the driveway for a good twenty minutes warming up his pick-up truck when it was cold outside?

Those days have past but a lot of folks still insist on warming up their ride before they head out in cold weather.

The Washington Post just did a story about whether warming up your car before you drive actually does anything. And the answer is no. At least it doesn't do anything beneficial to the car.

Back in the day this was different. When cars had carburetors, you needed to warm the engine up before they would work right. But by the 1990s, almost all cars had electronic fuel injectors, which automatically compensate for the temperature.

So, as long as you don't have a 30-year-old junker, you really don't need to warm your car up before you head out into old man winter. The only practical reason for doing so is for the inside of the car to get warm or so you can crank up the defrost, which is probably why most people warm up their car.

And on top of all that, the extra idling will cost you. A 2009 study showed that when it's cold out, the average person lets their car warm up for about five minutes. A test revealed that when you let your car idle for just five minutes when it's really cold, your total fuel consumption rises by 7 to 14%.


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