We’ve all heard the advice about letting your vehicle warm up before you drive in cold weather. But is this a necessary precaution or outdated advice?
According to Lonnie Hinkle, COO of Jiffy Lube of Indiana and more than 20 year veteran of the auto industry, “Modern vehicles don’t need to be warmed up any more than 30 seconds or so before you begin to drive. Older vehicles with carburetors were a different story, as they didn’t have the computer controls of today’s cars to keep them running smoothly while warming up.”
Even though today’s cars and trucks operate properly from the get-go in cold weather, the engine is still cold. Overdriving your engine at the start of your drive can increase the risk of damage in both the short and long term. Hinkle recommends going slower at first until the engine temperature gauge is up to the normal driving temperature.
“It’s always a good idea to take it easy for the first few miles before getting aggressive with the throttle. Drive the car gently at first to get that engine completely warmed up. It’s also important to be extra cautious when driving in the first snow of the year. When we drive all spring, summer, and fall, we sometimes forget how slippery the road can be and it can take us by surprise. Be sure to allow a good following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.”
We also asked what fluids are especially important to vehicles during the colder months. According to Hinkle, “All of the under hood fluids are important, but we need to pay attention to our antifreeze/coolant. Antifreeze/coolant is designed to help regulate the temperature of the engine. It is essentially a mixture of ethylene glycol and water with an additive package. When mixed properly, it will not freeze until the temperatures get down to about -35. If anyone added water to the system over the summer it is critical that this gets attention right away. (Water is bad in the summertime too!) It’s also important to make sure that your windshield washer fluid is the type that will not freeze. Most washer fluids will be good to about -25. If your washer fluid freezes you won’t be able to clear your windshield and it may break the reservoir that holds the fluid.”
Any other cold weather driving tips? “It is always a good idea to keep some items in your car just in case you become stranded. Things like a flashlight, jumper cables, a first aid kit, water and non-perishable snacks, a windshield scraper, blankets, and a few extra layers of clothing, It’s also smart to keep a shovel and a small bag of sand on hand. These can be used to dig out and gain some traction,” concluded Hinkle.
Jiffy Lube of Indiana is on your side. Stop by any of our 48 Indiana stores for the preventative maintenance that your vehicle needs to stay on the road this winter. For more information about our Jiffy Lube of Indiana locations, click here.