Myth: needing to let your car idle before driving in cold

Myth: needing to let your car idle before driving in cold

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - When temperatures outside dip below freezing, it's a common belief that you need to warm up your car before you drive off.

However, auto experts say that is a myth.

The engine actually warms up faster when you drive it.

Furthermore, Bill Linamen, an employee for Raben Tire Company, says what we put in our cars these days is actually more equipped for the cold temperatures.

"The old 30 weight oils are a lot heavier," Linamen said. "Most of the oils we're running now are zero weight. So the oils are a lot lighter so they're going to warm up quicker so there's no need to let them sit there in idle."

Myth aside, Heartland residents still feel they need to warm up their cars.

For some, it's out of habit.

"I do it because my dad always told me that I am supposed to warm up my car," Karen Woomer said.

For others, there's some selfishness to it.

"Couple minutes because it's really cold and it's nice to get into a warm car," Cory Strattman said.

Mechanics do suggest, though, running the defroster long enough to get the ice off you windows before driving off.

Other tips for cold car care include:

  • Filling your antifreeze. It'll keep your vehicle from freezing.
  • Make sure your tires are filled to the recommended level, as temperature changes can throw them off.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car too, one that has jumper cables and even a bottle of water.
  • Keep salt or even kitty litter in your car, that way if you get stuck, you have something that'll give you a little extra traction.

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