3 Winter Car Care Myths

Close up of car tires on a snowy winter road. Car in the distance with taillights on.

Proper winter car care is especially important in the colder months. With wet and icy conditions making the roads more dangerous to drive on, you want your vehicle in its best shape. Unfortunately, there are several persistent winter car care myths that can compromise the safety of you and your passengers. We’ve debunked a few of the most common below.

#1: Engines Need to Warm Up Before Driving

This is the most prevalent winter car care myth—one that every Minnesotan is probably guilty of entertaining at one point. The idea that cars need to idle before they’re driven stems from when older vehicles used carburetors, which actually did need to warm up to prevent stalling. However, modern cars use electronic fuel injection, making idling mostly unnecessary.

You’ll notice we said “mostly”—experts suggest 20-30 seconds of idling before you drive in the winter is enough to get the oil moving. Not only does unnecessary idling waste fuel and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but your vehicle will actually warm itself faster the sooner you begin driving.

#2: Pour Hot Water Over Your Windows to Melt Ice

If you pour boiling water into an empty glass, it will likely crack. If you pour it on your car’s windshield, there’s a good chance the same thing will happen. The fast and extreme change in temperature will cause uneven expansion and contraction, resulting in cracks.

In addition, pouring hot water on your car is a good way to damage the paint, as it destroys the protective wax. It’s best to stick with the tried-and-true combination of the ice scraper and the defroster. Sure, it’s a little slow, but you probably won’t have to pay for a windshield replacement.

#3: Deflating Your Tires Will Improve Winter Traction

The idea behind this winter car care myth is that dropping your tire pressure will make the rubber touch more of the road, therefore improving traction. However, if you know anything about car tires, you know there’s a specific pressure your tires should be inflated to. Anything under (or over) that tire pressure can compromise the handling of your vehicle and increase tire wear.

If you’re looking for better traction this winter, consider investing in some winter tires. Their deeper tread depth and biting edges make them ideal for handling slippery winter roads.

Find winter tires, as well as all your other winter car care needs at Mimbach Fleet. Conveniently located in Sauk Rapids, we’ve got everything you need for safe winter driving.

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