Should you warm up your engine before driving?

Conventional wisdom holds that engines should be warm before driving, especially on cold winter days, but is that true?

Nam Y. Huh/AP/File
A car is seen driving through a snow-covered road in Chicago.

It's a generally held rule: Let your car warm up a bit before heading off to tackle the day. But is it really necessary?

In a word? No.

Our friend Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained is here to explain why today's cars don't really need to be warmed up before driving. Basically, it comes down to the wonders of fuel injection.

Every vehicle built today and for the last 25 years or so has had fuel injection. Working with the computer, a fuel injection system can make the air-fuel mixture richer when a car is cold to get complete atomization of the fuel. Carburetors, those fuel delivery devices in the cars of our fathers, couldn't do that, and that's why dad or gramps told you to warm up the damn car before driving off.

That doesn't mean you should rail on your ride as soon as you get on the road. To avoid unnecessary wear, it's best to let the oil get up to operating temperature before you attempt your 0 to 60 mph runs or do a burnout in front of your girlfriend's house.

This article first appeared at MotorAuthority.

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