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Experts bust myths about idling cars in winter

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 05, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY --John Kelly, an automotive technology professor at Weber State University said idling your engine to warm it up on a cold day is one big myth.

“It's been passed on from generation to generation -- maybe that was true on an engine 50 years ago and it just got passed on to one person to person -- there's a lot of myths like that in the automotive industry of what needs to be done and what doesn't,” Kelly said.

Kelly has been working on cars for more than 30 years. He said modern engines don't need the time to warm up like they once did.

“They don't need that long warm-up period -- the sensors and the components that needed to hit a temperature back then don't need to reach those temperatures now to start controlling the amount of pollution coming out of the exhaust system,” he said.

It doesn’t matter what brand or how old the vehicle is, Kelly said. As long as it’s after 1996 it should have a converter system.

Glade Sowards, environmental scientist with the Utah Division of Air Quality agrees.

“Most of your emissions about 60-90 percent happen within the first 50 seconds of the car operating so if you can get in there and get it going that helps the catalytic converter warm up and be more efficient,” Sowards said.