How to warm up your car properly

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When it comes to starting your car on cold winter mornings, especially when the temperature drops below 0°C, opinions are divided. While we know more or less that warming up a parked car for 10 to 15 minutes made sense only in the past when people drove carburetor-engined cars, many people disagree about whether to warm up the engine while the car is still parked or to drive away immediately. One thing is for sure - the engine needs time to reach an ideal working temperature.

Although experts advise us to warm up the engine while in motion, we must bear in mind that this piece of advice applies only if you are an experienced driver who is able to warm the engine up at a low rpm. If this is not the case, the moving parts of the engine suffer from wear because the oil too needs some time to reach a working temperature at which it performs its lubricating function successfully. In any case, if you are living in areas with very cold winters it is better to choose a low viscosity oil, for example 0W-30. The oil is definitely not something you want to economize on because engine lubrication and engine life depend on it. You can find out more about the types and application of engine oil in our video tutorial How to choose the right motor oil.

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If you are not experienced enough to warm up the engine while in motion, there is nothing wrong with starting the engine and waiting for a short period of time on the parking lot. The car manufacturer has made a special mode to warm up the car while parked so there is no need to be afraid that waiting for a couple of minutes will shorten the engine’s life. What is important is that you don’t step on the gas pedal as you start the car, whether warmed up or cold. Moreover, avoid this once you have started the car as well. Besides being pointless, stepping on the gas pedal while the car is standing in one place damages the engine because there is no adequate lubrication.

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Bear in mind that if you have a diesel engine you must wait for the engine heater signal light to turn off before you start the car. With turbocharged engines it is important not to drive just after you’ve started the car. If the engine is cold, leave it to work for a few seconds before you start driving so that the turbocharger gets lubricated enough.

In summary, the best piece of advice that we can give you for cold winter mornings is to start the engine, wait for a couple of minutes without pressing the gas pedal if you are not sure that you can warm the engine up in motion, start driving slowly, without sudden changes in speed and shift gears gradually.

We hope you find these pieces of advice useful. Feel free to write to us if you have any suggestion, comment or question. We are at your disposal.

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