How long should you warm your car up before driving in cold weather?

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On a frigid morning, it’s always tempting to let your car warm up for 10 minutes so it’s nice and warm by the time you’re ready to head out. But you shouldn’t let it warm up for too long.  

“Seriously, the best thing to do is start the car up, let it run for a minute or two to stabilize, and then go.”

That’s how Chicopee mechanic Ed Malikowski warms his car up on cold mornings. He said your car warms up faster when it’s actually being driven. 

“It’s going to warm up faster that way than you sitting there and letting it run for 15-20 minutes with your car start,” Malikowski added.

Other experts argue that cars need no time to warm up for the same reason: that the engine and oil warm up significantly faster when driving. And that suggestion to only idle your car for a few minutes to warm it up goes hand-in-hand with Massachusetts law which states that you can’t idle your car for longer than 5 minutes.

The law is intended to minimize pollution and protect the environment.

A violation can result in a $100 fine for the first offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses of idling your car unattended too long in the commonwealth. It’s also a waste of gas.

Malikowski told 22News idling for more than 30 seconds actually uses more gas than restarting your car. 

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