Warming up your car in cold weather before driving is beneficial

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 6:32 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Extremely cold temperatures can take a toll on your vehicle, especially if it’s been sitting outside. Experts recommend you let it warm up before driving it.

They say this helps get the fluids properly flowing. Auto professionals also say it’s a good idea to invest in a frost plug heater. This tool helps warm up the engine and prevent fluids from freezing.

Mike Magur Owner of Brackett Triple M Auto Center in Eau Claire says to run your vehicle for at least three to five minutes before driving it.

“So the engine can warm up and the transmission because if you don’t sometimes it hurts the motor because everything is so frozen and cold it can hurt some of the bearings that are in the motor,” he said.

He says make sure you’re keeping up with your car’s maintenance, keep the fluids full, maintain proper tire pressure and keep your fuel tank at least half full in cold temperatures.

But while warming up your car, you also have to be safe.

Law Enforcement Officers say it’s important to make sure you’re being safe while you let it warm up to prevent theft. If you have an older car, get a spare key. If you have a newer car, remote start and lock your doors.

Sergeant Stephen McMahon at the Chippewa Falls Police Department says you can get fined for leaving your car unattended but if you’re going to warm it up before driving, be aware and be safe.

“If you are going to do it, lock your car that’s going to discourage someone,” he said. “Obviously if someone is looking for a crime of opportunity they’re going for the vehicle that’s unlock kind of when we have items stolen from vehicles people are looking for that opportunity they’re not looking for a car that’s locked they’re going for the one that’s unlocked.”

If you don’t want to leave your car unattended while warming it up, take it easy for the first five to fifteen minutes when driving.

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