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Reasons Why You Should Warm Up Your Car

Your mechanic wasn't BSing you when he told you that you need to warm up your car.

If you're a regular driver, you probably aren't too much into car care. Most people, when they get into work, just want to get up and go. This seems pretty standard, but that's not necessarily the best thing for your car. In fact, it can be pretty damaging in the long run. 

Chances are that you've had a mechanic tell you to warm up your car at least once or twice during your time on the road. Believe it or not, that advice is pretty solid and can help your car last longer. 

There are plenty of reasons to start doing this on the regular. Here are some of the biggest ones to consider, before you turn on that ignition.

During the winter, warming up your car can help you get better heat inside.

Nothing is worse than having a car that's bitterly cold inside, during the winter when you have an hour-long commute. If you warm up your car before you head out, your heater will be able to add more heat to your airflow—which will make you more comfortable. 

This is also the reason why companies make special products that keep your car engine warm in the winter. It's good for keeping you comfortable. 

But, there's also the chance that it could help prevent your brakes from freezing.

Did you know that your brakes can actually freeze during the winter? It's true, and if this happens, you will not be able to hit the brakes during your drive. Accidents can get caused this way. 

The best way to prevent freezing on your brakes (and a potential accident) in bitter cold is to warm up your car and check to see that you can press the brakes before you shift into gear. 

When you warm up your car, it also gives your car's engine a chance to have oil lubricate everything up.

Engines are really complex things, and a lot of things have to be in place for them to run smoothly. When you idle your car for a bit, this allows the oil that lubricates all the engine's parts to spread evenly throughout the motor. 

The lubrication helps your car run smoothly and also helps prevent wear and tear damage from overuse. This simple step can help your car last way longer, even if it's not a brand that is known for being durable. 

Some experts will tell you that there's really no need to warm up your car these days...

NPR recently had an interview with Car Talk's own Ray Magliozzi about this topic. According to him, getting your car prepped for driving isn't as necessary as it used to be. This is because fuel injectors made driving way smother. 

During the 1950s through the 1980s, though, drivers would seriously damage their cars if they didn't take time to idle their cars before they'd kick their gear into drive. Sometimes, your car wouldn't even move or even trying to start your car could be a mess. Older cars and cold don't mix. 

Fuel injections changed this, but for a while, it still would make a huge impact on how well your car would be able to handle trips. That being said, even he agreed that just keeping 30 seconds to help warm up your engine can still make a huge difference in how well your car runs. 

Car experts will also tell you that cold weather can cause motor stalling.

If you've ever had a moment where you wanted to drive to the corner store when it was freezing cold outside only to find that your car stalled, you're not alone. The cold can affect your car's ability to keep your motor running, even today. 

When you warm up your car, the engine will produce enough heat to let you switch gears and also keep yourself from dealing with stalling at the wrong time. 

There's also the fact that getting a warmer temperature will help unfreeze other fluids.

Windshield washer fluid, for example, can freeze if conditions get bad enough. The problem with this is that driving on highways during the winter often means you will need to wipe away the ice, grit, and water droplets that will come with winter weather. 

If you take time to warm up your car a little bit, you can unfreeze the wiper fluid and use it to ensure that your visibility doesn't suffer while you're on the road. 

The biggest argument against warming up the motor is the fact that modern cars can handle it—but can they, really?

Modern cars are definitely more weatherproof than older cars are. This is doubly true if you have one of the most reliable cars on the market, or a car that's been outfitted with winterizing gear. 

Truthfully, most drivers will not notice a major difference when it comes to warming up their cars. However, it's still worth pointing out that most guides telling you how to make your car last longer still tell you to warm up your car due to the decrease in wear and tear it offers. 

That being said, there are some caveats that you should be aware of.

While it's good to warm up your car, there is such a thing as too much preparation. Too much idling can be a waste of gas, and might actually stop being beneficial for your car's motor at all. Most folks agree that warming up the car for 30 seconds is all you need. 

Even so, a little bit of heat can go a long, long way.

Whether you have a new or an old vehicle, it's a great idea to take time to warm up your car before you hit the road. After all, that little amount of preparation could help you keep your car feeling good as new for years to come. 

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