With some of the coldest temperatures of the year hitting parts of the country right now, taking care of your car is more important than ever. Many people start getting ready to hit the road by going out to start the car, so that way it’s warmed up when it’s time to leave. However, does this actually help, or is this common behavior actually more harmful than you think?
Why Start The Car Early?
Generally, people think that starting their cars about fifteen to twenty minutes before starting to drive will help prevent their cars having problems. It’s suggested that doing this can help the car avoid freezing and help the engine warm up. This is especially the case for older vehicles that do not have some of the same modern technology installed that can help protect against weather conditions. Up to 14 million vehicles on the road today are at least 25 years old, an increase of 8 million cars since 2002. These cars in particular supposedly benefit from starting engines early; however, starting your engine early can come with certain risks.
Stolen Cars Across The Country
In many areas across the country, cars have been reported stolen while waiting for the engine to heat up. Because the keys are left in the car in order to let the engine run, it’s incredibly easy for these cars to be stolen, making it a risky behavior. There are ways to possibly deter would-be thieves from stealing your car in this way, but many people don’t typically take these extra steps. While it might be helpful to let the engine run and warm up, it can put you and your family at risk.
What To Do Instead
Instead of starting your engine early before getting into your car, there are a variety of other steps you can take to keep your car running properly in the winter. Make sure that your car is in full working order before being exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Cars that are already having difficulties with certain parts will do worse in the cold. Double check to see if your car needs any parts replacements; odds are, you’re due for a repair of some sort. Approximately 77% of vehicles on the road are in need of maintenance or repairs.
Additionally, if you’re looking to purchase a new car sometime soon, do your research to see if your ideal car is able to handle the weather conditions it will be exposed to. A shocking number of people don’t do thorough research in advance when buying a new vehicle, as walking in remains the common form of initial contact with a car dealership by more than half of vehicle shoppers. Doing your research about how your car will perform in winter can help you avoid the common winter problem of a cold engine.
Do you start your engine before you get in your car? Will you continue to do this, even if it’s risky? Share your winter car habits in the comments below.