Letting Your Vehicle Warm up in the Cold - The Effects it has on Your Vehicle
It’s practically instinctual. You get into your car on a very cold morning, turn it on, and let it warm up for a few minutes before driving off to start your day. Most of us think we are doing what is best for our cars, but by warming up your engine, what you are really doing is wasting gas, polluting the environment, and possibly causing damage to your vehicle’s exhaust system.
Before electronic fuel injection became widespread in the 1980s, warming up a car was more of a necessity. Today, you don’t need to do it. Your Nissan dealer in Calgary recommends warming for thirty seconds to one minute and then driving off. At driving speed, you will actually get your car to its optimal engine temperature as quickly as possible.
Save your wallet
Your car is a machine. Like all machines it runs best within a certain range of temperatures. Modern fuel injection works by telling the fuel injectors to remain open longer when an engine is cold. As the engine warms up, it gradually needs less fuel. Letting your car idle to warm up is actually the slowest way to get it to the proper operating temperature. At idle, your car’s computer just sits there telling your fuel injection to keep spraying out more fuel because the engine is cold. By driving 30 seconds to a minute after starting your car, your engine will warm up faster, and you will use less fuel.
Save the environment
Today’s cars include sophisticated technology designed to help them run cleaner and more efficiently. Your car’s catalytic converter burns off hydrocarbons remaining in your vehicle’s exhaust, reducing pollution from your car by about 90%. When your vehicle has a cold engine, it actually emits more hydrocarbons than a warm one. Unfortunately, the catalytic converter doesn’t work really well until it is well heated. The best way to warm up your catalytic converter is to start driving.
Save your car
Because your vehicle’s catalytic converter functions best when exhaust temperatures are high, you can actually damage your catalytic converter by making a habit of leaving your car idling to warm up. With the higher percentage of hydrocarbons emitted by a cold engine and the reduced efficiency of operating at idling temperatures your catalytic converter can become clogged and lead to poor fuel efficiency and costly repairs.
When the weather gets really cold
Your Nissan dealer in Calgary suggests allowing your vehicle a little more time to warm up when temperatures get below -11 degrees Celsius. Our advice is to let your engine warm up until you see your vehicle’s temperature gauge begin to move. The amount of time this takes will vary, depending on your car and its condition, but it will usually be less than five minutes. If you don’t warm your car sufficiently, your heater will take a lot of driving time to effectively clear the windshield and warm you and your passengers. If your heater does not keep the glass clear and provide adequate warmth, bring it in to your Nissan dealer in Calgary to get it checked. Your thermostat could be stuck open, or your cooling system might not be pressurising properly, causing it to have a lower boiling point, and that too will make your heater less efficient.
By going against the “conventional wisdom” and excessively idling your engine, you can actually save money, save the environment, and save some wear and tear on your car. Unless the temperatures are really low, your Nissan dealer in Calgary suggests you start your car, let it run for 30 to 60 seconds to get all the fluids moving, and then drive off gently.