Mid-October, and already we’re getting ads for remote car starters.
Letting your car idle when it’s cold is so wrong, for so many reasons.
First, you are obviously burning infinite litres of fuel per kilometer (it seems worse to say zero miles per gallon). Even if gasoline is now back below a buck a litre, who can afford to waste it?
Second, your car – like you – warms up best when it is under load. You don’t prepare for your workout by wiggling your fingers; you put a little bit of stress on those muscles to get them into peak shape.
Ditto your car - especially your catalytic converter, a critical component in cleaning your car’s exhaust. It needs to warm up quickly to work properly; let your car idle and you’re just spewing pollutants into the atmosphere.
Idling is also very hard on your engine. When a cold engine idles, the gasoline-air mixture is rich, and raw gasoline can wash lubricating oil off the cylinder walls, leading to premature engine failure.
This is particularly true of Diesel truck engines - every single manufacturer of such engines strongly recommends that they not be allowed to idle excessively. Yet all the time we see these things idling for hours on end.
Why? Truckers, if you want a warm cab, there are cab warmers that are a whole bunch more efficient than using the engine.
My favourite remote car starter story happened to a friend of mine many years ago, when the interlock technology wasn’t as well-developed as it is now. He fired up his Mercedes-Benz, forgetting it had a manual transmission. The car was in gear, and it drove right into a store window.
Served him right.
All this damage and expense, just so you don’t have to sit in a cold car for a few minutes? Well, boo hoo.
C’mon, Canada. Man up. Winter happens. Get in your car, fire it up, and as soon as it can run smoothly without bucking and coughing, drive away.
Take it easy for the first few minutes until the temperature gauge starts to move.
If you really are a wimp, buy a pair of thin gloves, fer cryin’ out loud.