There has been a longstanding debate on whether you should warm up your car before driving it. Some people say that the necessity of warming your car up before driving it is a myth. Others will let their cars idle for 30 seconds before driving. So, should you warm your car engine before you start driving?
Well, it all depends on how old your car is and the type of climate you live in. In this article, we will give you information on whether you should warm your car engine and why. Keep reading to find out more.
Fuel Injected Cars vs. Carbureted Cars
Older cars that ran on carburetors had chokes on them. These chokes restricted the airflow into the throat of the carburetor which pushed a large amount of fuel from the main jet into the combustion chamber to warm up the oil in the engine.
Once the engine was warmed, you’d have to manually switch the choke off. A couple of years went by and carburetors were redesigned with electronic chokes on them so you wouldn’t have to manually switch them on and off in cold weather.
Even though technology advanced with automatic carburetors, you still had to warm the engine before driving. This is because automatic carburetion still didn’t perfect the air and fuel ratio which is necessary for the car to run well, without damaging the engine by running fuel too rich or lean.
Then fuel injection was invented. But older cars with fuel injection still weren’t designed with electronic systems to measure how much air was coming into the engine. Older fuel injection cars typically ran with one oxygen sensor to monitor the air-fuel ratio.
But modern cars have many different sensors to monitor how much air and fuel enters the engine to optimize the vehicle’s performance. The sensors in modern cars are a lot faster and more accurate, so the engine will always get the correct amount of fuel no matter what the temperature is.
Based on this information you can see you don’t have to warm your car up before driving if it’s a modern fuel injected vehicle. But for carbureted applications you have to warm up the engine before driving and here’s why.
Why Carbureted Cars Need to be Warmed Up Before Driving
Older engines in colder climates need to get as much lower viscous oil through the vehicle’s system as possible. In cold weather, gas doesn’t evaporate as well so the liquid is more difficult to vaporize in lower temperatures.
When temperatures are low and the engine is cold the combustion will be uneven. The carburetor chokes off some of the air to compensate for the uneven combustion and will run richer fuel but less efficiently.
As the system heats up, the performance of the car starts to improve. Once the car is warm enough the fuel will vaporize, and the car will idle smoothly. Since carbureted cars don’t have the advanced sensors that modern vehicles do, you should always warm up the engine before you drive.
Using the Correct Oil for Your Car’s Specs
Another aspect you should watch out for if you live in colder climates is using the incorrect oil for your car. Excellent quality oil is crucial for protecting your car’s engine in cold weather. To select the correct engine oil for your car you must understand how the liquid is made.
For more tips for how to keep your car’s engine safe when the temperatures start to dip cooler, give us a call at Callahan Automotive.