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Warm up your engine in winter: yes or no?

Warm up your engine in winter: yes or no?

Warm up your engine in winter: yes or no?

Most of us are convinced that, in cold weather, we have to let our engine warm up at least 10 or 15 minutes before driving.  We believe that it can be harmful for the engine to hit the road when it is not warm enough. Is this really the case?

According to Transport Canada, it takes no more than 30 seconds for an engine to be ready to drive.  Fact is, it’s the driver that may prefer to not drive a cold car because a cold engine often gives the impression of riding on square wheels. In other words, it is not smooth at all.

In this case, it may be preferable to opt for one or two minutes of warm-up time, but no more.  A cold engine that heats up on idle is very polluting.

Subsequently –  and very important – we must drive slowly in the first minutes and not go to high speed. The idea is to allow the oil thickened by the cold to become more fluid.

Final tip: Until the engine has reached normal or near normal temperature, run the low-level heating fan.

Why not use a block heater?

To solve the problem related to cold temperatures, some people opt for a block heater hooked up to a timer that turns on up to three hours before they leave.

What are the advantages?  Your engine will work more efficiently and as a result, the passenger compartment will warm up more quickly. Allowing your engine to reach its optimal operating temperature more quickly reduces pollution and saves fuel for those first few kilometres on the road.


Jackie Beaudoin, Leclerc Insurance and Financial Services
Sources: Transport CanadaLe Devoir, Economobile