Should I Let My BMW Idle?

The infamous Jersey winters are almost here. Get your shovels ready, your car brushes, hook up those snow tires, and buy the bags of salt! Mother Nature seems to always send us one big snow storm every year. When it happens, you'll head outside and clean off your BMW and potentially let it run idle to "warm up" for an extended period of time, thinking this will prevent the engine from seizing. Contrarily to this belief, you do not need to let your car run idle in the cold.

“Unless you are trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior of your car, idling is not required for today’s vehicles,” said Rich White, executive director of Car Care Council. “In most cases, idling longer than 30 seconds is unnecessary. The best way to warm up your car’s engine is to drive gently at the start. Remember, a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when idling and the result is lower fuel economy and wasted money.”

When the car is moving, that is when the engine oil moves more productively and lubricates the moving parts better. In fact, just letting the car run in idly will only strip away oil from the engine's cylinders and pistons which is contradictory to your intentions in the first place.

But Where Does This Belief Come From?

This was a practice that started decades ago when cars were built with carburetors. Vehicles today are not typically made with these systems anymore. Especially for BMWs, these modern cars are built with new fuel-injection technology, complex computer systems, and thinner synthetic oils which allows drivers to skip the warming up process before going on the road.

What You Should Do When It Snows

When the snow starts to calm down, head out there and shovel your car out. Don't wait until nightfall to do so because the snow will start to harden over your BMW. If you want assistance in cleaning your car off, you can turn it on. But, you just want to make sure you flip on the rear windshield defroster and direct the heat towards the front windshield. Doing so will make it easier to remove the snow when the surface is heated! Once your car is completely cleared of snow and ice, turn off your BMW, since there is no need to have it run for an extended period of time.

Once you hop onto the road after a huge snowstorm, the first 15 minutes is where your BMW warms up. You want to take it easy on the road not only to avoid putting pressure on the engine, but the streets will be slippery! Take your time driving around and you will keep your BMW in extraordinary health this winter season!

If you have any questions about idling, please contact us at (201) 843-7900.

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