Depending on where you live, you can probably expect a heavy dose of cold this winter. Snow may blanket your front lawn or ice may cover your windows, and the unfortunate reality is that you’re going to have don your gloves, boots, and shovel and deal with it all.

That goes double for anyone who owns a vehicle. If you don’t own a garage, chances are your car isn’t going to cooperate during those early morning hours. Some people resort to a handful of tricks to keep their cars running smoothly, such as warming up the engine for a few minutes before they drive off.

However, while that may be a fine practice for keeping you warm, it may not be as necessary as you think…

With winter on its way, you may be mentally blocking out the special torture that comes with dealing with the freezing cold. Whether it’s rain, sleet, or snow, you, your family, and even your pets will be forced to confront the forces of nature.

FOX 31 Denver

Unless you’re lucky enough to own a garage, the winter season can be a special nightmare for people with automobiles. From frozen door handles to icy windshields—and don’t forget getting stuck in the snow!—cars and winter just don’t mix…

Luckily, drivers have developed methods for tending to their cars when the mercury drops. These simple tricks can both help you get out of your driveway just a little bit faster and stay safe on the road. But which are even worth the effort?

Ally Kraemer from Cincinnati, Ohio’s Channel 9 News braved the cold to find out what you can do to keep safe on the road when ice and snow make driving all the more difficult. She also tackled a question many drivers ask in the winter: is it worthwhile to warm the car up before you leave?

One precaution drivers can take, Ally noted, is to make sure that they top off their vehicle’s fluids before the frigid cold sets in. That includes stocking up on freeze-resistant wiper fluid, antifreeze, and thinner oil if necessary.

Beyond checking fluids, Ally learned about another regular practice: checking the tires’ air pressure. In the winter, it’s much easier for air to leak out. No driver wants to be stranded in the cold with a flat!

Beyond optimal pressure levels, experts suggest you should also double check the tread on your tires using “the penny test.” To do so, take a penny and, with Honest Abe’s head pointing towards the rubber, insert it into the tread’s groove. If the tread covers part of Abe’s head, you’re good to drive on the snow; if not, you should replace the tires as soon as possible.

Firestone Tire Company

But the question that’s sitting on the tips of frozen tongues all across the world isn’t about tires or fluids: it’s about the heat! Ally’s report initially asked if it’s necessary to warm your car up—or, more specifically, to turn the car on and leave it running for a few minutes before driving in the winter.

She consulted a few experts, and the consensus was simple: no, you don’t need to warm up your car at all. While there is a certain pleasure in stepping into a warm car when it’s freezing outside, it’s actually not that great for your engine.

To see why you shouldn’t warm up your car, watch the video below. While you may not get to hop into a hot car on a cold day anymore, your vehicle will certainly thank you for letting it chill out!

Who knew that idling your car was so unnecessary? That’s too bad—it’s kind of nice getting into a warm vehicle before you drive!

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