Winter is a difficult time for drivers. It does it's best to wreak havoc on your gas mileage. You may be playing the part of an unwitting ally to winter's effect on your fuel economy. Improperly warming your car up could be burning a hole in your pocket. Drivers are in the habit of warming their vehicle up in winter temperatures.
Drivers seem to be under the mistaken idea that they need to warm up their car for it to operate properly. By warming up they mean idling the car for a considerable amount of time before driving. This misnomer is costing you money. A great many car owners idle their car for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to let their cars warm up in cold temperatures.
The fact is,it takes no more than 30 seconds of idling to get oil circulating in the engine before you can drive away. Do not idle your car for more than 30 seconds. Anything beyond that is a complete waste. Idling is by definition burning gas but not going anywhere. When you idle, you are getting zero miles per gallon. You can't get worse gas mileage than that.
Most drivers think that idling a car for just a few minutes is no big deal, but they are wrong. To give yourself an idea about how much gas you would be burning by just letting your car idle for 5 minutes each time you start it think about this. Assume you idle for 5 minutes when you start your car in the morning.
Assume you idle for 5 minutes again, sometime during the day when you start your car again to drive home. That means your car is idling for 10 minutes per day. If winter is considered to be November, December, January and February, then winter is 120 days long. If you idle your vehicle for 10 minutes each day for 120 days then you are idling for 1200 minutes during the winter season.
1200 Minutes is equivalent to 20 hours. Idling your car for only 5 minutes per start amounts to letting your car sit and burn gas going nowhere, for 20 hours. Can you imagine letting you car sit and idle for 20 hours? Of course not.
Then why idle for the equivalent of 20 hours of burning gas if you don't have to? The correct way to warm your car and economize your gas is by driving it. Many drivers don't realize that other parts of the car need to warm up in order for it to operate efficiently. The transmission, the wheel bearings, the tires and other moving parts also need to warm up. The catalytic converter on the car doesn't operate at its optimum until it heats up to between 400C and 800C. The only way the other parts of the car can warm up is by driving. It turns out that the only way to completely warm up a car with all of it's parts is to drive it.
To prevent the loss of fuel economy in the winter one of the easiest things you can do is warm your car not by idling it but by driving it. Changing the way you warm your car not only helps your fuel economy but it also is positive for the environment. There is less fuel burning and adding to the green house effect and there is less fuel burning a hole in your pocket.
Scott Siegel is the author of a 143 page book of automotive industry insider secrets on saving gas and money at the pump (beatthegaspump.com). Visit us to learn how you can get better gas mileage. Find out how to increase gas mileage.