It's cold here. It's cold across most of the top half of the United States, but it's seriously cold here. It's cold enough that the current temperature of 3F feels significantly warmer than the -5F it was when I first got up this morning.
I need to drive down to the Portland area this afternoon, and as always I'm grateful for my Beetle's excellent heating system. What I don't know, however, is whether, why, and how long I need to let the car warm up in this weather.
"Warming up the car" is a memory from childhood; we never lived very far north, but I remember my Grandpa Lamb doing it in the Bronx one December morning in 1969. Once in a great while, it would be cold enough in Fairfax that Mom would warm up the car.
Sometimes, it's a practical necessity: I need to turn on the defrosters so I can scrape the ice and snow off my front and back windshields. But other times, I don't wait to let the car warm up; I just drive it away.
Am I damaging the car by doing this? How long am I supposed to let the car warm up, and what's the theory behind this?