When temperatures are low, do cars need to idle before driving? We look at the benefits and costs of idling your car in the winter.
With the recent frigid weather we’ve been experiencing, many of us are reaching for our remote car starters to warm up the car before driving. The question is does idling our car have any negative impacts?
How The Cold Impacts Your Car
The Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department explains, cars are at least 12 percent less fuel efficient in frigid winter conditions. Furthermore, in cold temperatures, it takes the engine longer to warm up and reach an optimal driving temperature.
There Are Two Sides To Examine
With older cars, leaving your vehicle to idle would help it be more effective and efficient, as they relied on carburetors and needed to warm up to work well. However, during the 1980s and early 1990s, the auto industry traded carburetors for electronic fuel injection.
Since electronic fuel injection uses sensors to supply fuel to the engine that adjusts to temperature conditions, the problem of warming up your car is now irrelevant. With modern cars, idling in the winter has no benefit for the car. The car does not need to be warmed up for more than 30 seconds before driving and actually warms up faster being driven.
The Costs of Idling Your Car
According to Natural Resources Canada “idling for more than 30 seconds has no benefit for the vehicle. Ten minutes of idling burns 0.25 to 0.50 litres of fuel. “They continued with, “Driving for a few minutes is the most efficient way to warm the engine, drivetrain and the cabin.”
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