When the temperatures drop, most vehicle owners will head outside and warm up their vehicles before they start driving. This is a step in the right direction; however, it's important to understand that there is a right and a wrong way to go about this process. Here are just a handful of tips you want to keep in mind when warming your vehicle.

Don't Go Overboard

No one wants to get inside a cold car. For this reason, many people will turn their vehicle on and allow it to idle for an extended period to ensure it is nice and toasty once they get inside.

Engines use both gasoline and air to function. However, when it's cold outside, engines will use more gasoline than air to combat the cold. This imbalance causes you to burn gasoline at a more accelerated rate than you normally would. Long idling also burns more oil, which can leave critical engine parts poorly lubricated. Idling also unnecessarily releases pollutants into the air. To avoid this, keep your warm up efforts short and sweet.

Remember Safety

Don't be so focused on getting your vehicle warm that you forget to consider your safety. First, if you have a garage, make sure you are removing the vehicle from the garage or, at the very least, leaving the garage door open. Warming up your vehicle in a confined space significantly increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Second, don't forget to re-clean your windows. If you're warming up your vehicle during a period of active snow, the windows can easily get recovered while waiting on the vehicle to warm. Ensure your windows are clear before taking off.

Start Slow

If you're unable to warm up your vehicle the traditional way, don't panic. A safe alternative is to instead turn on your vehicle and drive slowly at first. An engine can safely heat up in this manner just as well as it could if you were letting it run for several minutes.

If you're warming up your vehicle this way, it's best to stay at a low speed for the first several minutes of your drive. Driving too fast, too quickly may cause harm to your engine. This is especially the case if you make this method a common practice.

Make sure you are warming up your vehicle the right way in order to protect your engine and your safety. For more tips, talk to an auto repair shop in your area.