Chances are you know someone who before departing on a cold winter drive says “I’m just going to go start the car and let it warm up a bit.” This person probably thinks that letting the engine warm up to a decent temperature and getting the fluids flowing is good for their cold engine, but they’re wrong.
As YouTube’s Engineering Explained tells us in the video above, all your doing by letting your engine idle in the driveway is causing unnecessary wear and tear to it. Unlike a carbureted engine, modern day fuel-injected engines automatically adjust the air-fuel mixture to enable good cold weather operation, so you need not worry about how it might perform when it’s -5 out. Besides, an idling engine doesn’t produce all that much heat compared to one that’s being driven, anyways.
Furthermore, a cold engine idling can allow fuel to get into the oil, thinning the oil and ridding it of its ability to properly lubricate the engine. Letting your car heat up so you don’t freeze upon entering it in the morning might be tempting, but if you want to maximize the life of your engine, we’d suggest you just get in and drive the thing. Just clear all the snow off first, please. You don’t want to be that guy.