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December 24, 2020Warming Up Your Car In Winter

What’s the most off-putting thing about getting up on an icy morning? Is it that the first step out of bed, the first step out of the shower or the first steps into your frosty car? All three options sound chilly, but at home, we have an alarm to wake us up and heating to take the edge off the cold air.

Cars parked on a street covered in snow

Sadly though, we must endure the wintery conditions when hopping into our cars. So, to make this task a more pleasant affair, we’ve put together some useful advice to help you and your car get off to a good start. Read on to learn about warming up your car in winter.

Does my car need to be warmed before driving?

Technically, the engine is safe and ready to go after about 30 seconds of being turned on in nearly all temperatures – but there are still some things you might want to consider when attempting to warm up your car in winter, these include:

  • Cleaning the windshield for optimal visibility

Remove ice, snow, leaves and other objects that would otherwise impair your visibility of the road. Remember to remove all objects from the inside, near the windscreen as this will help to reduce screen fog. You can use an ice scraper, snow brush, warm water or a de-icing spray if you’re really stuck.

  • Driving to warm it up instead of idling

Hitting the road for a normal, reasonably paced drive for 5-10 minutes will warm your car up better and faster than idling on your driveway. Idling is not only a waste of fuel but increases emissions and increases a vehicle’s wear and tear.

Old habits die hard – idling the engine stems from when cars originally had carburettors fitted, which required several minutes to reach optimal temperature before enabling a smooth drive.

However, this is not a problem with modern cars of today, as they aren’t fitted with carburettors. Instead our engines are fuel injected, which means cars can be driven almost instantly after starting up. In fact, idling the car for too long can cause engine oil dilution (a breakdown of the oil’s lubrication properties). This means it’s best to head off onto the road as soon as you can for a gentle drive and a gradual warm-up.

  • Keeping within the law

A vehicle that is stationary for more than a couple of minutes should have the parking brake on and the engine off for safety purposes and to reduce emissions and noise pollution. It is not against the law to leave your engine running on private land but it is advised to not to. This is to ensure maximum health and safety, prevent car theft and to help the environment.

For help and advice with your vehicle or to book your MOT – contact Treadfirst. We offer great prices, honest services and unbeatable prices. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today!

De-icing your car

To avoid leaving your car idle to warm up and defrost, we have put together step-by-step instructions to help you de-ice your car quickly, effectively and safely.

Plan ahead of the winter:

  • Make sure you have an ice-scraper 
  • Make sure you have de-icer 

De-icing your car step-by-step:

  • Using a de-icer spray, squirt over the windscreen and stand back so as to not breathe in any residual fumes.
  • Wait for 20 seconds and clear with an ice-scraper.
  • Lift up your windscreen wipers gently to check that they’re not stuck to the windscreen – if they are frozen, avoid turning them on as you don’t want to burn out the motor and/or tear the wiper blades. Instead, spray de-icer on them or pour warm water over them.

No de-icer? Your de-icing alternatives:

  • Three parts white vinegar and one-part water into a spray bottle and spray over affected areas.
  • A saltwater solution will have the same effect, but don’t overuse this method, as salt can damage the windscreen, as well as collect around the washer fluid nozzles. Avoid spraying the paintwork too, as salt can corrode the metal.

Why shouldn’t I leave my car unattended whilst it warms up?

  • Car theft
  • The environment
  • Wear and tear

When de-icing your car on a wintery day, it can be tempting to turn on your heater and demister and hop back inside whilst it warms up. However, doing so on a public road could cost you a penalty of £20 – which increases over time if left unpaid. Doing this on your own private land is not against the law but it is not advisable. Follow the instructions above for quick and safe car de-icing. 

Ways you can prevent your windscreen from freezing over at night

  • Cover windscreen with a towel
  • Cover with a tarpaulin sheet 
  • Park vehicle in the garage overnight

For help with your car during the winter, whether you require winter tyres, service and repair, battery checks or replacement – contact us today. Otherwise, you can book an online MOT if you’re in a hurry!

Get in touch today for the best quality advice, competitive pricing and a personal service

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