Facebook, taken as a whole, is like having some pushy friend who has to give you advice on everything. Lately, that pushy friend has been telling you not to bother warming up your car in winter, and posting many articles explaining why. Should you believe him? Absolutely not. It seems that most of these anti-warming up articles are missing some huge points, and could be giving a potentially damaging message to most people… The main thrust of these articles saying there’s no need to warm up your car is that it’s wasteful of fuel, creates needless pollution, and modern, fuel-injected cars just don’t need to be warmed up to run well like old carbureted cars did. And, generally, these statements are all true — modern car engine control computers are vastly better at managing the engine to run well even when cold, and, sure, if you idle the car for 20 minutes, you’re not really accomplishing anything beyond turning gas into pollution. But that’s only a part of what’s going on with your car when it’s really cold. Even though these articles headlines proclaim there’s no need to warm up your car, in the stories you can usually find that they say a short warm up of 30 seconds or so is “okay”. In reality, when it’s really cold out, you’d be crazy not to warm up your engine for at least a minute or two. The reason has nothing to do with fuel or a latent desire to pollute your driveways — it has to do with oil. When your car has been sitting out overnight, all the lubricating oil that’s coating all of the crucial, moving metal bits of the car has settled down to the bottom of the oil pan. When the temperatures are really cold, not only is that oil not near the areas it needs to be, its viscosity — ability to flow — has been severely impaired by the cold. You’ve seen how differently, say, refrigerated maple syrup flows compared to hot syrup — your engine oil is the same way. So, when you start that cold engine, it’s essentially running without lubrication. If you start up and immediately put a load on the engine, things could get damaged. It’s just not ready to go. Take a minute or two to get that oil pumping around before putting any load on the engine, and your pistons, camshafts, turbos and other spinning, moving bits will be much, much happier.