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How long should I let my car

Laryssa Black | Published on December 03 2015

How much time is required to safely drive your vehicle in the cold?

It's finally getting colder out.... (I am NOT complaining about that).
A huge percentage of people are under the understanding when its really cold out we need to let our cars "warm up". With the average driver waiting around the 10 minute mark.

It is not fun scraping off your windshield, mirrors and windows when its minus a thousand outside, been there!
***Please don't drive away without clearing your windshield, mirrors and windows, Yes I'm talking to you 
      Mr. I cleared a hole on my windshield large enough one of my eyes can see out of.***
I than began allowing the cars defrosters to do the work for me, and that takes ALOT of time depending on the thickness of the ice and snow. 
I now have an insulated garage and don't need to worry about anything too much.


So the questions was brought up. How long do I need to let my car warm up in the winter"
Yes the viscosity of the oil gets thicker when its cold and needs a bit of time to thin out so the motor can effortlessly lubricate our engines internal components.

I think we all got into the mentality that a car need to "warm up" from cars generally produced before the 90's.
A Carbureted car; generations to come may not know what a carburetor is one day :( 
MUST reach a certain temperature so the air fuel mixture will be sufficent with the choke off.

Cars today are fuel injected (with some exception) and the ECU (computer) uses different sensors to supply the right amount of fuel at any given time; starting, accelerating, braking, etc.

Most manufactures state 30 seconds is adequate during the warmer months. Due to oil viscosity 2-3 minutes is sufficient during the cold months.


Allowing your car to idle for longer than that is doing 2 main things.
1. Wasting fuel
2. Giving off more greenhouse gases, mainly CO2 

***Money savings time***
Lets say the average car consumes 0.55 litres of fuel.
Using a gas station rated at 103.5, assuming our vehicle idles an hour a day for a calander year,
we have spent $207.78. In 10 years that's $2077.80.


Most importantly, ensure you are using the recommended oil your manufacturer calls for.

Below is a link from Natural Resources Canada that confirms my content. It is a informative great read.

Laryssa Black

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