For How Long Should I Warm up My Vehicle before Driving?

By Mister Transmission

It may be time to dispense with another long-held drivers’ myth before you damage your engine

Not that long ago, it was necessary for motorists to let their vehicles run for a few minutes before they started driving – especially in the wintertime. The logic behind it was straightforward enough: when in the grip of winter, drivers need to warm up their vehicles to allow the engine’s lubricants to warm up and begin to flow to ensure everything runs smoothly. But here’s a reality check: unless your car is a decades-old carburetor and choke-powered model, or you live in Canada’s far north, chances are you don’t need to warm your vehicle up on icy cold winter mornings.

Modern vehicles feature sophisticated onboard computer systems in the engine block that manages the outdated functions of their erstwhile predecessors. In fact, it’s possible that clinging to the old-world warm-up methodology may do more harm to your engine than good.

Canadian Idle: The Heated Debate Persists

Despite the advancements in automobiles and automotive technology, many motorists insist warming up a vehicle during the cold months will help prolong the life of the engine. However, this popular belief is not an indisputable truth, no more so than the arguments stick shift enthusiasts clutch to in defence of driving a car with a manual transmission versus one with an automatic transmission.

With the electronic fuel-injection systems that are built into modern vehicles, there are more factual reasons for not allowing your vehicle to idle than there are in support of it. Idling produces additional levels of carbon monoxide, a poisonous, invisible, odourless gas, it’s a waste of fuel, and it can degrade your engine over time.

The Lubrication Argument

The naysayers will often agree with all of the above before they revert to the oil lubrication argument. That is, when the mercury plummets below zero, you should run your engine for a couple of minutes before driving since the motor oil in your car will largely settle in the oil pan overnight, and it’ll thicken, affecting its viscosity. They may have a valid point.

Can cold weather negatively impact your vehicle’s transmission? It’s possible frigid temperatures can be a contributing factor to gear slippage or difficulty changing gears. Although subzero temperatures may trigger transmission problems, they are not necessarily the direct cause, but merely a foreshadowing of what’s to come. In other words, if you’re experiencing transmission warning signs, you should have your vehicle inspected by a certified technician regardless of the temperature outside. So how long to warm up before driving? It’s likely not even necessary if you have a modern car.

For more than 50 years, Mister Transmission has kept Canadian motorists on the road by ensuring the transmissions in their vehicles are in tip-top shape. If you have a question about your transmission or want to book a service appointment, contact the Mister Transmission service centre nearest to you.

Wants to know more?
Visite one of our locations!

image-reviews image-reviews
Customer Reviews
Dave and his team went...
David Lowe
Dave and his team went way above the call of duty and helped us solve a complex problem in an old Volvo. They have been beyond fair, open and honest and competent. Amazing team.
Date: June 13, 2024
Website: Google
I'd recommend this shop to...
Chantelle Kaiser
I'd recommend this shop to anyone looking for quality service, through evaluating, and timely responses! Upon calling for an concern reguarding my 2006 Yaris. Janice was exceptionally kind and informative, allowing my car to be taken in within a time frame that was excellent. She informed me about what their technicians would be doing upon given a diagnosis. Whilst having their technicians test drive my car and doing an inspection of my area of concern. As a first-time car owner, they reassured me throughout the entire process. Explaining everything along the way, I knew I could trust them given their transparency and willingness to answer questions. Upon picking my car up today, they allowed me to take a test drive with their technician Rob! He was amazing at answering many questions in a way that educated me ! Thank you Rob for giving that extra reassurance for my car! The owners Shawna and Dave are exceptionally personable and evidently passionate about their business. I'm exceptionally greatful for the time everyone took to help me in a stressful time. 100% recommended giving your business to this wonderful team!
Date: June 13, 2024
Website: Google
We had a true emergency...
Eli-Kristin Ward
We had a true emergency and this shop saved our home and livelihood, literally. The car is also in an excellent mood after the visit!
Date: June 13, 2024
Website: Google
Steve impressed me with his...
Patrick Murray
Steve impressed me with his honesty and I would definitely recommend him for transmission repairs.
Date: June 13, 2024
Website: Google
Mr. Transmission is always quick...
Jill Silk
Mr. Transmission is always quick and responsive. They go the extra mile to help resolve what is happening with you vehicle and providing possible outcomes and costs.
Date: June 12, 2024
Website: Google
Very happy with the work...
Amanda Cummings
Very happy with the work done by Kyle and his team. They took great care of my Dodge Journey - did a necessary overhaul of its transmission, stayed true to the quote provided, and had it ready when they said it would be. Glad to have it back again, and will highly recommend this business to others.
Date: June 12, 2024
Website: Google
I’ve got my Honda Transmission...
Shamil Ranaweera
I’ve got my Honda Transmission serviced at Mister Transmission Waterloo. The team was professional, knowledgeable and efficient. Price was reasonable and highly recommend these guys for your transmission repairs.
Date: June 12, 2024
Website: Google
Went there last Friday with...
KING
Went there last Friday with my wife's Saturn Outlook. Brian was the technician that I spoke to. Brian was very honest and told me that I don't need to spend money for a transmission, he has made a few suggestions to me on the issue. Just want to say thank you Brian and the rest of your team for being honest tradesmen. Keep up the good work.
Date: June 11, 2024
Website: Google
Went there last Friday with...
KING
Went there last Friday with my wife's Saturn Outlook. Brian was the technician that I spoke to. Brian was very honest and told me that I don't need to spend money for a transmission, he has made a few suggestions to me on the issue. Just want to say thank you Brian and the rest of your team for being honest tradesmen. Keep up the good work.
Date: June 11, 2024
Website: Google
Great customer service and technicians…...
Catherine Evagelacopoulos
Great customer service and technicians… glad that I decided to bring my truck to them
Date: June 11, 2024
Website: Google
Featured Services
Transmission Repair

The evolution of transmissions has made these machines and systems increasingly complex. When transmission repairs are required, determining the cause and cure for what ails can be tricky.

Read More
Transmission Technology

At Mister Transmission we have access to leading-edge diagnostic equipment, enabling us to offer you the fastest and most accurate findings about what’s going on inside your vehicle’s transmission.

Read More
Transmission Maintenance & Service

Just as you have other parts of your car serviced, your transmission needs maintenance to ensure a long life and avoid transmission problems.

Read More
Mister Transmission Blogs
Recent Blogs
Why A Transmission Rebuild Is Your Car&#...
In the intricate world of automotive care, the transmission stands as a pivotal
Read More
June 7, 2024
The Essential Guide To Torque Converters...
In the world of automotive performance and maintenance, understanding the role of
Read More
May 31, 2024
Why Regular CVT Transmission Service Is ...
In the realm of automotive innovation, the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Read More
May 24, 2024
How Transmission Overheating Can Impact ...
The transmission is the heart of your vehicle's drivetrain, playing a crucial role in
Read More
May 17, 2024
Transmission Shift Kits: Transforming Yo...
In the world of automotive enhancements, few upgrades can match the impact of a
Read More
May 7, 2024
Transmission Problems: Signs, Solutions,...
Maintaining a healthy transmission is crucial for the longevity and performance of
Read More
April 30, 2024
Saving On Your Ford Transmission Replace...
When it comes to maintaining your Ford, understanding the intricacies of transmission
Read More
April 22, 2024
5 Signs It’s Time For A Transmissi...
Maintaining your vehicle's transmission is crucial for its longevity and performance.
Read More
April 12, 2024
Prevent Automatic Transmission Slipping:...
Automatic transmission slipping is more than just an inconvenience; it can signal
Read More
April 5, 2024
CVT Transmission Repair Simplified: Expe...
Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) are known for their smooth, seamless
Read More
March 29, 2024