Are you damaging your car by leaving it running on cold mornings?

Is leaving your engine running bad for your car?

It’s never easy waking up on a cold winter’s morning knowing that you’ll have to spend twenty minutes waiting for the car windscreen to clear and the interior to warm up before you can head off. You’ve probably, like many, been tempted to instead leave the engine running while you finish off your morning coffee from the warmth of the house. If so, you could well be damaging your vehicle by leaving your car engine running.

For years, we’ve be told that warming up your car, both for the benefit of interior comfort and heating up a cold engine, is the best course of action before taking to the roads. What many don’t realise, however, is that such advice was only applicable when operating vehicles that were fitted with carburettors - components that required a few minutes to warm up before offering optimal performance.

Modern car, modern rules

With advancements in the quality of engineering and technology in vehicles, the need to leave your engine idling before driving off is no longer required. In fact, the majority of modern vehicles feature fuel-injection engines, negating the need for a stationary ‘warm up’ period. Instead, a short period of gentle driving - anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds - will suitably warm the engine before any prolonged exertion is required.

But what of leaving your car idle during the cold weather? Are you damaging your vehicle? The short answer to this question is potentially.

Potential engine damage

Modern vehicles run on a mix of vapourised fuel and air. By leaving your car engine running while stationary in colder weather, the ratios of this mix changes significantly; with less gasoline likely to be evaporated during the colder weather, the risk is that your vehicle adds more to the mixture, thereby causing an imbalance and leading to a process known as ‘running rich’.

Alternatively, there is a risk that leaving your car idling on a cold morning can cause essential lubricating oil to be stripped from cylinder walls and the pistons of the engine, leading to potential damage that could costs hundreds to repair. The risks of leaving your car engine running before heading off, clearly, outweigh the benefits.

Find out more with Carwise

At Carwise, we understand the importance of maintaining your vehicle to enjoy peak performance, as well as the need to ensure that the climate in which you’re driving is as comfortable as possible. With our range of high-quality used cars at our dealerships in Dunstable, Harlow, and Maidstone, you have the opportunity to invest in modern vehicles that offer the utmost in comfort and the very best engine technology.

Contact our dealerships today for more information on our range of exceptional used cars, and find our more about how to keep your vehicle in prime condition.