Klamath’s air inversions wreak havoc with air quality. In the denser neighborhoods, especially on days when air doesn’t rise and circulate, exhaust from an idling vehicle stays in the vicinity and finds its way into your house and your neighbors homes. Good neighbors–and anyone who cares just a tiny bit about the environment and their budget–refrain from warming up their cars for excessive periods of time. Nonetheless, there are a lot of people in Klamath who either don’t care about the environment, are oblivious to poisoning their neighbors, or wrongly insist that excessive warm ups are good for their cars.

MYTH: I’m supposed to warm up my car.


Every authoritative source, including auto manufacturers say a vehicle should idle for NO MORE than 30 to 60 seconds after starting. In an article titled “Your Dad Was Wrong,” Popular Mechanics suggests you don’t need to idle at all.

Mother Earth News points out that excessive idling actually harms your car in a number of ways. Idling doesn’t produce enough heat to make the engine function efficiently, which takes a heavy toll on the catalytic converter that requires higher exhaust temperatures to reduce emissions properly. Since the exhaust gasses are cooler, less carbon is burned up, and the catalyst in the converter becomes clogged rapidly. When the converter becomes clogged, it passes pollution through and restricts airflow, which reduces engine horsepower and dissipates heat less, further harming the engine. The catalytic converter is an expensive item to dispose of and replace, costing well over $1,000 for all cars. Since we don’t have DEQ certification requirements in Klamath (yet), most people don’t know their converters are clogged.

Instead of idling for warm up, manufacturers suggest driving immediately, but taking it easy at first while the engine temperatures increase to optimum.

What about diesels?

People who drive diesels swear they need a long warm up period and insist it is better to idle their (usually trucks) whenever possible to avoid shutting off and restarting. This is also incorrect. The best option for diesels is the same as regular gas vehicles: a short idle and delicate driving at first while the engine ramps up. Diesels do feel a bit more sluggish in cold weather, which is why some owners install engine heaters to reduce start up sluggishness.

Man Up

There’s no good justification for those who warm up their cars in the summer. In the winter, for most that do, it comes down to one issue: selfish comfort. It’s hard not to forgive women for warming up their cars, especially when hauling kids. Men want their ladies to be as comfortable as possible whenever possible to reduce the fallout in response to everything else men do to annoy them. But unforgivable are the men who warm up cars for themselves.

Seriously, how can you call yourself a man if you are such a pussy you screw over your neighbors, the environment, and damage your vehicle just so you can sit in an immediately toasty cab? HERE’S NEWS FOR ALL YOU MEN WHO WARM UP CARS: YOU AREN’T MEN!

Forget what your grandpappy told you about engines: that information is obsolete. You aren’t driving a tractor. Since warming up is not necessary with any vehicle produced in the last 20 years, be a man and haul that sorry ass into a cold vehicle in the morning. Those that use a remote car starter should consider beating themselves with it. Men…if you care about your woman, let her keep her car in a garage.