How long should you warm your engine up on a cold morning?

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How long should you warm your engine up on a cold morning?
Image Credit: Engineering Explained
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OK, picture this: It’s a 22-degree morning outside and you’re getting ready to go to work. How long should warm the engine up for? Or should you even warm it up at all?

Read more: The secret to putting 1 million miles on the odometer

This video may put the question to rest

There are two schools of thought when it comes to this debate.

One says that a cold engine needs to warm up before taking off and about 10 minutes will do the trick. (Not to mention that gives enough time for your vehicle’s interior to get all roasty and toasty on a cold morning!)

The other school of thought says that not only do you not need to warm up your engine, but that you can actually harm it by doing that over time.

Well, this may finally put the debate to rest. The folks over at Engineering Explained stuck a thermal camera over the engine of a 2016 Subaru Crosstrek to see what happens when you do a cold start.

By monitoring engine speed, the temperatures of the coolant, the intake air and more, this video will give you a better idea of what’s happening beneath the hood on a freezing morning.

Spoiler alert: After about six minutes, engine RPM has dropped noticeably and the oil filter and alternator are reaching full operating temperatures. But your battery is still frozen solid!

Ultimately, Engineering Explained makes valid arguments for both schools of thought — warming the engine up vs. not warming it up.

So no matter which camp you fall in, you’re likely to find your point of view reinforced by watching this video!

Read more: 10 vehicles that drivers complain about the most

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Theo Thimou About the author: Theo Thimou
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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