Way Back Wednesday: To Warm Up or Not?

January 22, 2014

Old Habits Die Hard…But Warming Up Is Not Necessarywarm up, car, idle, ohio, winter, engine, repair

Did you know it is illegal to warm up your vehicle in the state of Ohio? Ohio law states that anyone who leaves a running vehicle unattended can be charged with a misdemeanor and a $150 fine if they have not stopped the engine, locked the ignition, and removed the keys. Additionally, the law includes private property, so you can be cited for “warming up” in your own driveway. The law was supposedly put in place to deter theft, but many suspect environmental concerns as a possible reason.

It is true – idling your vehicle does not help the environment and it will reduce your gas mileage. Today’s vehicle’s reach their optimal temperature quicker when they are being driven. Nonetheless, old habits die hard. Who wants to get into a frozen vehicle before heading to work, to shop, or pick up the kids? Years ago cars needed to “warm up” before driving due to fuel delivery systems that used carburetors to mechanically adjust fuel for combustion in the engine. Today’s fuel injection systems are computer-controlled using reliable electronic sensors. Ignitions systems are also electronically controlled and self adjust for external temperatures.

Finally, the oils and lubricants used today are much better. They can maintain their viscosity under a range of temperatures unlike lubricants of the past. Without proper lubrication, internal engine parts would experience friction which could result in failures and damages. The improvements of these systems and lubricants mean newer cars do not experience engine problems like cars from the past.

What should you do? If you can withstand the cold temperatures yourself, your car can too and warming up the vehicle is not necessary. In order to keep your vehicle running safe during the cold, Cleveland winter, start with the basics:

Stay on top of regular maintenance. Perform oil changes and other basic maintenance services according to the manufacturer’s schedule.

Have your battery tested annually and replace it after 5 years or when it starts to show signs of wear.

Always keep your tire pressure at the recommended level. It helps your tires to grip the road safely, stop quickly, respond to changing road conditions, and improves gas mileage.