Right after I depart from our Saturday morning gatherings, my car radio will sometimes find its way to NPR and “Car Talk”. For the uninitiated, “Car Talk” started all the way back in 1977 at WBUR in Boston and it went national in 1987. The Magliozzi brothers – Ray and Tom – elevated the typical automotive repair advice show with their incredible chemistry and quick wit. Back in 2012, their show rolled into retirement but thankfully, there’s an endless source of old tapes being played online and on the radio. Their show can take the edge off of traffic and provide genuine learning moments. If the episode is 20 years old, well, the 20-year old advice generally holds true for that particular vehicle.
During our most recent cold spell that sent the thermometer into the single digits, my neighbor asked me about the benefits of warming up her car. I had just finished listening to “Car Talk” and it made me wonder how Ray and Tom would answer.
RAY: On modern, fuel-injected cars -- basically anything made in the past 20 years -- you're not helping the car at all by warming it up for five or 10 minutes.
TOM: On older, carbureted cars, that kind of extended warm-up can actually cause damage to the engine by diluting the oil with excess fuel. So it's even worse if you have a really old heap.
RAY: But with modern cars, all you're doing with a long warm-up is wasting gas, increasing pollution, raising the temperature of the planet and making yourself 10 minutes late for your chiropractic appointment. The proper procedure is to start the car. If it starts and keeps running, put it in Drive and go. Go gently (don't back out of your driveway and floor it right onto a highway entrance ramp), because you'll be warming it up during your first few minutes of driving, but DO drive it.
TOM: If it's bitterly cold out, like 10 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you can let it warm up for a minute or two to allow the oil to thin out a bit and circulate completely. But other than that, if it runs, driving it gently is the best way to warm it up.
In this case, even 6-year old advice works. Thanks Ray and Tom. Lean more here: http://www.cartalk.com