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Should I warm up my car in winter?

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For years most of us have held to the notion that, in winter, you head outdoors to turn on your car, then head back inside to let it warm up for awhile.

A good idea 30 years ago, but not today, say automotive experts.

Most vehicles built before 1995 used a carburetor, that combined air and fuel, and which required idling for a few minutes to get the proper mix in cold weather. Then, starting in the 80s, automakers switch to the fuel injection system, eliminating the need for the carburetor, according to accuweather,com.

This means that idling a modern car today simply shortens your engine’s life by stripping away oil (the lifeblood of your engine) (from its cylinders and pistons, according to Popular Mechanics. This happens because newer engines have electronic fuel injections sensors that compensate for cold temperatures by pumping more gas into a specified ratio of air and vaporized fuel necessary for combustion to run your car. This process goes on until your engine heats up to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, when you let your vehicle idle to warm up, more fuel gets into the combustion chamber, which can send it into the cylinder walls, washing the oil away. This can cause your piston rings and cylinder liners to wear out prematurely.

Popular Mechanics stresses that the best way to warm your engine is to drive your car, which will take it to that 40-degree mark, thereby switching back to its regular fuel-to-air combination. But don’t go crazy by turning the key and flooring it. It takes 5 to 15 minutes for your engine to warm up while driving, so go easy.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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