Baby it’s cold outside and you’re not looking forward to leaving the warmth of your home or office and sliding into the freezing-cold seat of your VW. If you’re like many drivers, you think that warming up your car not only will enhance your comfort level but will prevent engine damage. So how long should you warm up your Volkswagen before driving it? The answer will probably surprise you.
How Long Should You Warm Up A VW in Cold Weather?
A study conducted back in 2009 by The Washington Post concluded that the average driver let his or her car warm up for more than 5 minutes when the mercury dropped below freezing. Ask around, and that practice is still very common today. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to set the record straight. According to the EPA, the best approach is to warm it up for a maximum of just 30 seconds. The only exception to this advice is when a car’s windows are iced over and idling is necessary to defrost them so a driver can see.
Why Warming up your Car is a Bad Idea
Contrary to popular belief, the practice of idling for any reason, including to warm a car, is harmful to your car, health, bank account and the environment. Say you idle your car just 5 minutes a day to warm it up, leave it on to run an errand or wait for a passenger. In the long run, you will burn 20 gallons of gas and generate nearly 450 pounds of pollution. Additionally, idling is a gas-rich inefficient mode that can degrade your engine over time. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, whenever a car is turned on and idles for more than 10 seconds, it is costing the owner money, hurting the engine, and generating air pollution.
What Should You do Before You Drive in Cold Weather?
If you’re accustomed to warming up your Volkswagen, you’re probably wondering
how to start a car in cold weather to enhance engine health. As noted earlier, it’s fine to warm up your car for 30 seconds or less to get the oil flowing. The fastest way to warm your car is to ease into driving it.
Unfortunately, it may be tempting to slide into a pre-warmed car on a frigid day. It’s just not a good idea. Whenever you have any question about improving your car’s engine life, we invite you to contact us. For more than 40 years our job has been keeping Brooklyn Volkwagens running smoothly.