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Modern vehicles feature sophisticated onboard computer systems in the engine block that manages the outdated functions of their erstwhile predecessors.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.

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Customer Reviews
Good and friendly and reliable...
Albert Wilton
Good and friendly and reliable people and they work hard to get your vehicle doneService: Transmission
Date: July 25, 2021
Website: Google
Thank you, Mister Transmission! After...
Christy McMurray
Thank you, Mister Transmission! After taking my vehicle to the dealership where I bought it, and paying $150 for them to tell me what I already told them was wrong, the Dealer gave me a quote of $6,500 to replace my 9 year old transmission with a factory rebuilt one, because it couldn't be fixed or rebuilt by them. Thankfully I called Mister Transmission and Chris knew exactly what the issue was, how to fix it, and it only cost me $385 for everything and it was fixed in a day. I am so grateful that Chris and Dawn run an honest operation and provide genuinely great service. Thanks again!
Date: July 25, 2021
Website: Google
Cambridge Mister Transmission was awesome....
Sarah MacArthur
Cambridge Mister Transmission was awesome. We ended up having a small issue but they still took the time to show me where on my vehicle the problems were and fully explain the possible issues. They were prompt in getting back to me the following day and I had my vehicle back in no time. Chris and Nick were amazing and the office is so clean and pleasant. Great customer service!
Date: July 24, 2021
Website: Google
Great service , friendly and...
John Neven
Great service , friendly and very knowledgeable.Excellent work
Date: July 23, 2021
Website: Google
Mazda 3 AT light came...
Chris Elmquist
Mazda 3 AT light came on one with some bad noises and clunking. Dealer said need a new transmission for only $4400. Took it to this and a quick check they determined it needed new TCM which is very common on the mazdas. They took care of it and even did a bunch of extra work fixing a wiring harness all for the cost of the TCM . cannot say enough about how we were treated by Chris and Dawn. Would recommend them. FIRST CLASS!!!!!
Date: July 23, 2021
Website: Google
Workers are very nice and...
Ely Bolivar
Workers are very nice and explain thing clearly. Also they have an option to finance your repairs.
Date: July 22, 2021
Website: Google
They assessed the problem quickly,...
Colleen H
They assessed the problem quickly, quoted a good price, provided fast service, in a no-pressure, friendly manner. I've been telling everybodyService: Transmission
Date: July 20, 2021
Website: Google
I took my differentials down...
Kieran Massicotte
I took my differentials down to get rebuilt and Steve was very professional and the total was 200 bucks cheaper than the quoted price and there was a few things during the whole process that didn’t go as planned as I had brought all the bearings parts and some bearings were the wrong ones and I had brought 4.88s to put in end they would not work and before continuing with anything Steve would call and double check to let you know what needs to be done and get the ok from me first before they would continue overall amazing place Steve and the guys were awesome and the work was done perfect and the diffs have never been more smooth highly recommend.
Date: July 20, 2021
Website: Google
Excellent customer service.Service: Transmission
Eduardo Vieira
Excellent customer service.Service: Transmission
Date: July 20, 2021
Website: Google
Thank you Kyle and the...
Roman Danko
Thank you Kyle and the Mr. Transmission team for very professional and friendly customer service and repair. I definitelly recommend their services.Service: Transmission
Date: July 19, 2021
Website: Google
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