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December 14, 2012

Car Talk

Garages do make vehicles happier

Syndicated columnists

Dear Tom and Ray:
My boyfriend and I disagree on whether to keep the car in the garage. He thinks it cuts down on the life of the car (something about cooling the engine). I think a car lives longer if kept in a garage. I understand that a heated garage is not a good idea -- but what about just a regular attached garage? —Evelyn

Tom: Your boyfriend is being an oil stain on the garage floor of your life, Evelyn. Garages are great for cars -- and for their drivers.

Ray: At the very least, a garage will protect the exterior of your car from the elements, including those acidic pigeon and pterodactyl droppings. And if it spends every night -- or half its life -- under a roof, it'll look good for about twice as long.

Tom: From what we see in real life, that's about right. Cars we work on that are garaged look a lot better than non-garaged cars their age.

Ray: I have no idea what your boyfriend is talking about regarding engine cooling. Maybe he thinks the engine won't cool down as fast if it's closed in a garage? Or that the heat of the engine will warm up the garage and shorten its life?

Tom: The length of time it takes the engine to cool down makes no difference to anything. So, as far as we know, there's absolutely no downside to keeping your car in an unheated garage.

Ray: Plus, there are some very real mechanical advantages to parking your car in a heated garage overnight. Most notably, because the oil remains warmer and less viscous, it does a much better job of lubricating your engine from the moment you start the car. You prevent a lot of long-term damage to the engine that way.

Tom: And because the coolant also is kept warmer, the heat comes faster and your butt doesn't freeze to the seats, requiring an embarrassing call to AAA and the accompanying blowtorch extraction.

Ray: Plus, you don't have to clean snow or ice off the car, so your visibility always will be excellent.

(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)

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