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Modern vehicles feature sophisticated onboard computer systems in the engine block that manages the outdated functions of their erstwhile predecessors.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
Very friendly and very quick...
Brandon Card
Very friendly and very quick service!
Date: January 13, 2021
Website: Google
Amazing service. Highly recommended. You’ll...
Christopher Comeau
Amazing service. Highly recommended. You’ll always go back after your first visit
Date: January 13, 2021
Website: Google
Very knowledgeable and friendly staff.
David Anette
Very knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Date: January 13, 2021
Website: Google
Great guys working there!
Chris Beynon
Great guys working there!
Date: January 12, 2021
Website: Google
The manager was great. Very...
David Hertel
The manager was great. Very accommodating and helpful. Went above and beyond.
Date: January 11, 2021
Website: Google
I have used this shop...
Richard Lax
I have used this shop before for my wife’s car and so far I’ve had a really good experience. Estimate was fair and the employees are friendly. I needed them to put a rush on my last service visit and they were really understanding about hurrying up the turn around. Thanks again!
Date: January 10, 2021
Website: Google
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 10 STARS This location...
Brenda Anderson
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 10 STARS This location is Excellent. Not only did they come in undertime, they also charged under their quote. Amazing, Great Value and Excellent Professional quality. My Toyota is running with perfection. Compete Transmission Fluid Full Flush, replaced w new Filter, replaced Fluid.Trusted and Honest shop. Thank you!
Date: January 9, 2021
Website: Google
Had my truck serviced by...
Mark Touchette
Had my truck serviced by Kyle and did an awesome job! Also, nice to see Richard is still there!!
Date: January 9, 2021
Website: Google
Excellent service!
Juan Munera
Excellent service!
Date: January 8, 2021
Website: Google
Very nice, told me exactly...
DJ Ownage
Very nice, told me exactly what is wrong with my car and advice on what to do next time
Date: January 8, 2021
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
Recent Blogs
What Is A Transmission Solenoid?
The “transmission solenoid”. Or maybe you heard it as “solenoid pack”.
Read More
January 14, 2021
5 Ways Transmission Service Can Help
Regular service is crucial for the long-term health of your vehicle’s transmission.
Read More
January 7, 2021
FAQs About The Torque Converter
Torque converters are key components of transmissions. How often do they require
Read More
November 30, 2020
5 Tips For Transmission Maintenance
Good transmission maintenance practices mean the difference between years of
Read More
November 25, 2020
Are CVT Transmission’s Difficult T...
You’ve heard of automatic transmissions. You’ve heard of manual transmissions.
Read More
November 18, 2020
How To fix A Slipping Transmission
What is the fix for a slipping transmission? It’s simple. Just pop the hood of your
Read More
November 12, 2020
What Are The Indications Of A Bad Torque...
The torque converter is an integral part of the transmission. However, torque
Read More
October 19, 2020
“What Transmission Do I Have?̶...
On this site you will see terms like “transmission overhaul”, “solenoid
Read More
October 5, 2020
How Do You Rebuild A Transmission?
The decision to rebuild a transmission is not to be taken lightly. While a
Read More
September 30, 2020
4 Things A Transmission Shop Can Do For ...
Transmission shops look after your transmission to ensure it runs as efficiently and
Read More
August 28, 2020