We all have heard idling your car is necessary so it warms up before driving it during winter months.  For that reason many of us living in cold and snowy places turn our vehicles before we have to drive.  But experts believe we have fallen victim to a myth that is doing more harm than good to your vehicle.  As idling your car during winter only wastes fuel and strips oil from components such as cylinders and pistons that help your engine run.

Origins of the Myth

The basis for this myth dates back to before 1980 when engines relied on carburetors to keep the car engine pumping.  From the 1980s onward, electronic fuel injection now powers today’s engines with a sensor, which lacked in carburetor run cars, to feed cylinders the right air and fuel mixture.  Back then it was important for your car to run for a few minutes to allow your carburetor to warm up before driving.

How Is Idling Harmful

  • Idling your vehicle increases the amount of exhaust in our air.  Exhaust contains many pollutants linked to asthma, allergies, heart disease and other health problems.
  • Idling wastes fuel and money.  According to the Consumer Energy Center, two minutes of idling uses the same amount of gas a driving for 1 mile.
  • Operating vehicles emits gases from its tailpipe contributing to climate change.

Avoid Unnecessary Idling

  • If you will be waiting for longer than 10 seconds turn your engine off, as idling wastes more gas than restarting engine.
  • Best way to warm up engine is by easing into your drive, avoid revving your engine and not by idling.
  • Warm up the inside of your car by driving do not idle as you are breathing in exhaust that leaks into your vehicle.  If you are parked and waiting it is healthier to get out of your vehicle and go inside a building or store.
  • Always turn your engine off if waiting for someone in a parking lot or picking kids up at school.