Last updated on January 2, 2019 at 02:33 pm
There may be mornings when you walk outside to find your car windows frosted, snowed on or iced over. You go to warm up your car, but then worry about a recent article you read that it’s bad to idle your engine for a long time.
The internet is full of articles like these. Typically, publishers point out that warming up your car for long periods can damage your engine because oil can be stripped away from pistons and cylinders.
Still, you should definitely make sure your car windows and mirrors are completely clear before driving – even if you’re only going around the block. Whether you choose to idle your car for a few minutes to warm it up, scrape off your windows or do a combination of both is up to you.
The bottom line: choose safety first.
If you do warm up your car in the winter (for safety or comfort), there are a few things to keep in mind to safely warm up your car in cold weather:
Never leave a running vehicle unattended. An idling car is a big target for thieves. This is a common way thieves steal vehicles in the winter months. Stay inside your car or near it at all times if you’re warming it up. You can also consider an automatic starter, which can run your car without keys.
Use open spaces. Always ensure that your car is in a well ventilated area if you’re warming it up. Idling your car in an enclosed space can expose you to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Know your local and state laws. Some areas have laws against idling. You can read about some of these laws here. Make sure to know the rules about idling and follow them.
Remember, driving your vehicle with frosty windows is never safe. If you need some new tools to scrape your windows clear, read our Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Ice Scraper. After you find your new ice scraper, read about how to stock your car’s winter emergency kit.
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