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Is The Weather Channel is full of it?

Today they had some winter driving tips in between forecasts and one of them was “allow your car to warm up for 5-10 minutes.”

Even when it’s in the teens i just let it run for maybe 20-30 seconds and go.

Who is right ?

You are right, they are wrong.


For comfort and safety let your car warm up in order to defrost your windshield on colder days.

For the sake of fuel consumption wait the 20-30 seconds and drive slowly IF you can see.

Technically, you are correct. Warming up a car is unnecessary, but if your windows are frosted over I’d say wait a few minutes until they are clear.

The Weather Channel employs experts in WEATHER FORECASTING, not automobiles.

Would you ask a mechanic to forecast next weekend’s weather?

The Weather Channel is utter tripe every single second they’re on the air.
My son holds a Bachleor’s in Meteorology and a Master’s in Climatology and he is embarassed and disgusted by the fact that many people will associate this televised garbage with the field itself.

From car advice, to bogus global warming stories, and to childlike theatrics it’s bunk from one end to the other; with Heidi Cullen being one of the worst offenders.
Even the guy who founded the WC says the WC is garbage.

You’re right, and they’re wrong.

The rule of thumb I’ve always used is to let the car warm up until the intial fast idle speed goes down. Seems to take about 30-sec to one minute on the coldest days. Of course if there’s ice on the windshield, run outside a little earlier, start the car, turn on the defrosters, and go back inside for a few minutes. Since I live in moderate climate, it doesn’t come to that very often though.

In addition to the misinformation on TWC, I am getting really annoyed at the “imminent disaster” coverage on the regular broadcast channels regarding every approaching snow storm!

When I was a kid, back in the '50s, we had much bigger snow storms in NY/NJ than have taken place in recent years. And yet, back in the '50s, local TV stations would simply give the weather forecast–with a special note about the probable snow accumulation–but without the alarmist, crepe-hanging, “this is the big one so you better stock up on food NOW”, panic-mode reporting of the present day.

Last week, I stopped at the local supermarket on the afternoon prior to a forecast “big one”, and that was a real mistake on my part. All I wanted was some oranges, but the massive crowds with shopping carts overflowing with milk, bread, eggs and other staples made it almost impossible for me to get to the Express Checkout. Incidentally, the “big one” turned out to be an accumulation of ~1/4 inch in my area.

Hmmm…Why does everyone seem to stock up on milk, bread, and eggs prior to a snow storm? Are they all planning on making French Toast?

Generally I agree with you. The exception for me is when it’s -20 deg F outside for example. If you’ve never had the pleasure of starting a car in those temps and driving off, let me tell you, 30 seconds doesn’t cut it. Where I grew up, those temps were not uncommon in the winter. Pulling out onto the highway with a stone cold motor and transmission isn’t fun. Not to mention a single misplaced breath and the windshield is frosted over…

With the recent cold snap, I think they are speaking to those people affected by the extreme temps.

Or milktoast. Where I live, weather is one of the few things the news stations have to talk about. I swear, its half the hour on ,“A winter weather advisory may be sweeping to the North.” Then, of course, nothing happens- and I moved my car for nothing- POO!

One of the local tv stations here ran a supposed “story” last evening in conjunction with the weather about a Russian scientist’s assertion that we are actually experiencing global cooling (remember how that was the panic topic a few decades ago?)and are headed into another ice age. They tried to tie it to the current cold snap. What tripe! Oh yeah, at the very end, they allowed as how the prediction is for the next ice age in 1,000 to 10,000 years.

Each winter when we get a very cold spell – just like winters always do – we hear about impending doom from global cooling and a new ice age. Each summer we hear all about the doom and gloom of global warming and how it is causing that day’s heat and smog. Each season the tv folks have to manufacture some sort of over-hyped panic hyperbole.

I’ve taken to turning off the tv and ignoring their version of the news. I catch news reports on the radio, the internet, and in my local newspaper. Much more informative, concise, sensible, and intelligible.

As for weather, gee, I love my NOAA weather alert radio and ability to listen to National Weather Service forecasts. Those are the ones that prove the most accurate and without all the frothing at the mouth artificial panic mode just to pump up ratings.

climbs down off her soapbox and looks for duct tape to put over her big mouth

I agree with you, Marnet.

I have also come to rely on NOAA Weather Radio, both in my car and on one of my radios at home. NOAA provides “just the facts” (as Sgt. Joe Friday used to say) without the ridiculous gloom and doom weather reports on commercial TV stations.

For national and international news, I have come to rely on BBC (The British Broadcasting Corporation), since they have no axe to grind in regard to US politics. For other news, my local newspaper (typos, poor grammar and all) lets me know what is happening close to home.

Pulling out onto the highway with a stone cold motor and transmission isn’t fun. True. The best (for the car) is to idle no more than needed to get it drivable and then keep it under 40 mph for a few miles. Idling does not warm up the transmission and suspension parts that also need to be warmed to function properly. Driving does that.

twinturbo your 100% right. most of the time here in upstate n.y. in the winter you can let it warm up for a short time and go, but when it has ice or hard snow on the windshield, no way can you get in and go? while the car is warming you will brush off the snow, then get out the scraper and get the windshield done. everything takes time. then get the snowblower out, warm that up and get the driveway done, just so my wife can get to work???/ i put in my time!!! can’T wait for the dog days of summer. so---- depending where you are do what you have to do

Since we’re all chiming in here on our start-up procedures . . . here’s mine. I start my old Honda, get it to idle smooth (about 30 seconds, it’s got a carb), and then drift backwards down my driveway to the backroad I live on, then drift another 1/2 mile downhill to the main highway. I think I counted about 90 seconds once. But more important than that . . . I drive the car, warm outside or cold, like it was made of glass, gingerly, for the first 5 or 10 minutes. I like to get everything warmed-up and moving easily, then drive normally. This car has almost 490,000 miles on it, BTW. And another eccentricity I’ve acquired, in the really HOT weather in the Summer, if I’ve been driving the car for awhile, I’ll park in my driveway, open the hood and let it run for 30 or 40 seconds, to allow the heat to dissipate from the engine, tranny, radiator, electrics, etc. I’ve been criticized for this habit, hard to break at my age. Rocketman

When it’s bitterly cold (like single digits or below), I usually let my car warm up for 5-10 minutes. Other than that, I let it run for 30 seconds or so and go, driving it gently until the temp gauge begins to register. Remember, it’s more than just the engine that works better when warm–there’s the transmission and power steering components. Plus you’re giving a little extra back to the battery, which can make a difference when it’s really cold outside. And you have some heat to keep the windshield clear if you need it. I think it’s better to let the tranny and steering gain a little warmth before placing a demand on them when it’s ridiculously cold outside. But it’s just my opinion.

does not matter,if cars were not meant to idle,the engineers would make them shut off at red lights.(yes its harder on the oil )but thats why you get the oil changed.

rather fire it up with remote start,have heat,clear windows,and not shiver for 5 mins(which is pretty unsafe in and of itself.

as far as being GREEN to late MAN has already trashed this planet.(men specialize in destruction,due to the fact we want stuff done NOW.and at all COSTS.just think of the green peace people out in their petroleum based boats,chasing of all things ,a tanker full of crude.ooohhh! the laughter.and a two stroke engine hanging off the back.(NOW THATS PRICELESS)

just look at BIG industry,enough said.

the weather channel people are a bunch of CLOWNS.

Does letting it warm up for more than 30 seconds waste gas? Sure, but so does that extra trip to the grocery store because I forgot the loaf of bread, or so does the Sunday drive with my wife.

Does letting it warm up for more than 30 seconds allow the rich gas to wash the lubrication off the cylinder walls and help to dilute the oil? Sure, but in a correctly maintained engine, you’d be hard pressed to notice any shortened engine life.

If it’s really cold and I feel like getting into a warm car, the reason I can and should be able to is for the same set of reasons given in the other active thread about “why people buy high performance cars”. It’s my car and I’m willing to spend a bit more for gas/wear in order to be comfortable when I drive it.

Might not be a bad idea, my mechanic is right more often than the weatherpeople.

The weather channel as well as the weather field in general are oriented toward human survival, not automotive efficiency. Warming up will help your transmission a little. Gather information, but don’t mistake it for a decision. The decision comes from you after you evaluate the information. The priorities change on a daily basis and so should the decisions.

why run outside in the frigid temps if you don’t have to. get a remote start and save the going outside until you’re really ready to leave