Plan on starting your car a few minutes before getting into it on this bitterly cold day? Maybe shorten the amount of time, as idling your car is not actually the most efficient way to get it warm, or the best for its health.

The Washington Post reports a 2009 study found a majority of Americans thought they should idle their vehicle for, on average, more than five minutes before driving when temperatures dipped below 32 degrees.

The idea of letting your car idle before driving it so the engine can warm up to optimal temperatures dates back to the 1980s and early 90s when vehicles were built with carburetors. Modern-day fuel injection technology, advanced computer systems for delivery that automatically adjusts distribution in whatever temperature you’re in and common, thinner synthetic oils get your engine lubricated much quicker.

In reality, the EPA says driving the car will warm it up faster than idling, both the inside heat and under the hood, and a brief idling time of no more than 30 seconds is all that’s needed.

John O’Rourke of Cincinnati’s Bob Sumerel Tire says to ease into driving the car instead of letting it sit in the driveway warming up.

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