Today is one of the first days of this upcoming winter season where most of eastern Iowa will spend a big chunk of the day below 32 degrees. What makes that temperature so special? Glad you asked. It's the temperature at which water freezes. Anything below that is considered below-freezing. Glad we got that 1st-grade math out of the way. Eastern Iowa will spend most of the day below freezing so hopefully, you've purchased salt for your driveways/walkways as they could end up being pretty slippery by tonight.

Other than working outside, one of the toughest things Iowans must endure in the winter months is jumping into a freezing car. It seems like it takes forever before you start to feel the cabin of your vehicle actually warm up. How often have you finally started to feel warm air blowing in your car right as you pull up to your destination? Believe it or not, there is a quicker way to warm up your vehicle than letting it sit idle for 10 minutes.

Unsplash - Aneta Voborilova
Unsplash - Aneta Voborilova

The Most Efficient Way to Warm Up Your Vehicle

Unless you have a baby or little kids that you don't want to hop into a freezing car, the best and fastest way to warm up your car is to warm up the engine. What's the fastest way to warm up the engine? It's to drive it.

Drivers Ed has a simple 4-step process on how to safely and properly warm up your car. Most of it should be common sense but there are some great reminders everyone can use.

Step 1 - Make sure your vehicle is in a safe spot. This means make sure your car is either outside or at the very least you have your garage door open. As remote start engines become more popular, it's too easy to start your car in the morning with your garage door closed, which is a huge no-no.

This can be dangerous for multiple reasons but the main reason is carbon monoxide poisoning. A person can quickly pass out from lack of oxygen before they realize what's happening and this can lead to death. Make sure your car is in a safe spot before you start it.

Step 2 - Turn on your defroster. For obvious reasons, this will help clear a fogged-up window. It's pretty tough to drive safely when you can't see where you're going.

Step 3Let the engine idle for 30 seconds. For any vehicle that is 30 years old or newer, it doesn't take a lot of time for your engine to fully circulate the oil as cars 30 years old or new all use a fuel injection system. According to Tune Up Plus, "when your throttle valve opens, your fuel injector sprays fuel to mix with the air and then enters the engine's combustion cylinders."

A combustion engine doesn't take 10-15 minutes to prepare your engine to run safely and properly as opposed to an older carburetor system would. According to Drivers Ed, carburetors were phased out in the 1980s, so it's unlikely you're driving a car that uses one of these. Letting your car idle for 10-15 minutes is a waste of time and fuel.

Step 4 - Take it easy for the first 5 minutes. As you're ready to head out to your destination just remember to take it easy on the gas pedal for about 5 or so minutes. If you're hammering down on your accelerator, it can put stress on your engine.

As the weather gets colder, hopefully, these tips and reminders can help you at least be comfortable on your daily commutes. You can save time and money by remembering there's no need to let your car idle for a long period of time. The fastest way to warm up is by heading to where you have to go.

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