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Should I warm up my car? The answer may surprise you.

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Despite the dropping temperatures, you may not need to warm up your car before heading out this winter.

Warming up your car before driving was for a time when carburetor engines were popular on the road.

During the 1980s and into the early 1990s, however, the auto industry did away with carburetors in favor of electronic fuel injection.

In this modern era of fuel injection and on-board computers, mechanics agree there’s no longer a need to warm up your car’s engine.

In fact, the outdated practice of warming up your vehicle could actually be shortening the life of your engine. Allowing your car to idol strips the oil away form the engine’s cylinders and pistons.

When your engine is cold, the gasoline is less likely to evaporate and create the correct ratio of air and vaporized fuel for combustion. Engines with electronic fuel injection have sensors that compensate for the cold by pumping more gasoline into the mixture. The engine continues to run rich in this way until it heats up to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Driving your car is the fastest way to warm the engine up to 40 degrees so it switches back to a normal fuel to air ratio.

It will take 5 to 15 minutes for your engine to warm up while driving.

You may have to suffer through a few minutes of cold temperatures, but it could save you some gas money. Moore Tires recommends decreasing the amount of time you let your vehicle sit and run to warm up, and you’ll actually increase your gas mileage!

If you prefer getting into a warm car, limit the warm-up to five minutes or less. It is also important to remove any snow or ice from your vehicle before heading on the road. Ensure your windows are defrosted and you have full visibility.

Moore Tires, 2411 E Rock Falls Road, Rock Falls, IL 61071, 815-625-1800, www.mooretires.com