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Modern vehicles feature sophisticated onboard computer systems in the engine block that manages the outdated functions of their erstwhile predecessors.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
It was my pleasure to...
Farid Sidhom
It was my pleasure to meet very nice experienced people. They are very friendly and very professional. My vehicle got fixed with less than I expected. Thanks to the whole team at Mr. Transmission Dixie.
Date: October 31, 2020
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So far I have only...
Dhruv Shukla
So far I have only trusted Pennzoil guys located in Waterloo for my car.I had to get my transmission fluid changed and they recommended this place. Needless to say, got the best service and am so happy that I have one more car service to trust for any of my future car servicing needs. These guys are trustworthy, honest and did not even try to oversell me once. Scott was very friendly and helpful.
Date: October 30, 2020
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Professional transmission shop which also...
Rod Grant
Professional transmission shop which also does everything else! I went for transmission oil and filter change. Nice aquarium in waiting area. Friendly and knowledgeable boss. Highly recommended.
Date: October 30, 2020
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Absolutely excellent service! Everyone was...
Martina Heinelt
Absolutely excellent service! Everyone was super friendly, they kept me updated every step of the way, and they were always available if I had any questions. My car was in for 3 days and everything was explained as it was being done. They are reasonable with their pricing and won’t charge you unless they can pinpoint and fix your issue. Preliminary diagnostics were free. They even went out of their way and drove my car for me once service was done to a more convenient location. Couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Date: October 30, 2020
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Had my transmission rebuilt for...
Justin Whittle
Had my transmission rebuilt for my 86 camaro. Runs like a dream now Gave me a very fair and reasonable price to do the job. Would highly recommend. Very friendly and knowledgeable. Felt like family more then a customer.
Date: October 30, 2020
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The car went in exactly...
Shawn Andress
The car went in exactly on time, the work was done very well & if you've got a CVT transmission they are the place to go in Sault Ste Marie - also done in exactly the timeframe I was given. I live way too far away to take them up on their offer to drive me home but it is a service they would seem to offer. I'll take my car to them anytime!
Date: October 30, 2020
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I not expect to finish...
Maged Medhat
I not expect to finish that job before time less than a week to order axel shaft and more parts and finish in 3 business days thanks for your support and fast work perfect doneMaged bilates
Date: October 29, 2020
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I just picked up my...
Kevin Grady
I just picked up my Ford Ranger today and I'm very pleased. The technician team went way beyond what was requested at no added cost...great savings for me! My vehicle was at the shop for less than 24 hours and Steve kept me totally informed as they troubleshot my problem. I would highly recommend Stoney Creek Mister Transmission for anyone looking for great and quick service.Thanks for the great job, guys!!
Date: October 29, 2020
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Got my transmission done …very...
Corrado Terzo
Got my transmission done …very helpful and honest no BS I would recommend this shop
Date: October 28, 2020
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Victor was awesome to deal...
Julia Joseph
Victor was awesome to deal with. They went above and beyond for my car. Very honest. Thank you for the great service!
Date: October 28, 2020
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