WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Jan. 2, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The West Valley City Police Department issued a warning Tuesday night on Facebook, letting everyone know it’s a bad idea to warm up your car by leaving it running.
Here’s the WVCPD post:
“WARNING: We had five cars stolen in West Valley City this morning…five! Every single one of them had been left running in the driveway and every single person thought their car would be safe for just a few minutes. Folks, a running vehicle is an open invitation to a thief. Please, keep your car. Don’t make it an easy target for thieves!”
They added a side note, saying experts recommend warming up a car no more than 30 seconds before driving. The engine warms up faster being driven.
A quick Internet search confirms this.
A recent article in Popular Mechanics explains that trying to warm your car by letting the engine idle “does not prolong the life of your engine; in fact, it decreases it by stripping oil away from the engine’s cylinders and pistons.”
This is because today’s engines, with electronic fuel injection, pump additional gas into the air and fuel mixture to compensate for the cold. The engine is “running rich” until it reaches about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Then it switches back to a normal air-fuel ratio.
According to Popular Mechanics and Business Insider, you should start your car, take a moment to clear off the windows, and then get in and drive gently until the engine has warmed up — about five to 15 minutes, they say. Gunning the engine under these conditions will only harm it.
Warming by idling is a throwback to the days when cars had carburetors to mix the gas and air — and no sensors to adjust the mixture for the cold weather.
You don’t have to live in West Valley City to take good care of your car — or to prevent it from being stolen.