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Bunge's Automotive Blog

February 01, 2019 @ 12:00am

Start your Car to Warm it up?Winter is hard enough on your car without misconceptions adding to the potential damage. We’ve already covered “the great idling myth” (In short: No, it’s not good to idle your car for long periods of time before driving in cold weather.) but there’s another misconception that’s almost as prevalent: In very cold temperatures, you should run your car every day to keep the battery from dying. The truth, as usual, is complicated.

First of all, when is this car misconception actually true? If you have to park your car outside at night and you have an older car or an older battery, several days of sub-zero temperatures can certainly kill a tired battery. In these cases, daily starting can help prolong your battery’s life and ensure your car has a charge when you need it.

However, if you park inside a garage and/or have a newer car or battery, here’s why starting your car every day can actually hurt your engine. 

  • It dilutes your oil. Starting your car without actually driving it can cause gasoline to get into your vehicle’s oil, and gasoline is most definitely not a lubricant. If you must start your car every day, take it for a drive as well, and not a short little jaunt, either. It takes a considerable amount of time for your vehicle to warm up and burn through all that gas.
  • It leaves an excess of moisture in your exhaust. Your exhaust system is usually always home to some moisture. But, if you let your car warm up by driving, the exhaust can actually evaporate a lot of that moisture. If you simply run the car for a short time, that moisture stays put, which can cause a host of problems.

If you must start your car every day, be sure you have a plan that will allow you to drive it for some time. Short trips and simply idling the car can lead to damage. The best thing you can do for your vehicle is make sure your battery is fully functional and your alternator is in good shape, both things you can do at home, or the next time you bring your car to Bunge’s.

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