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start and go?

1629 Views 14 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  DrWebster
Hello all!

I was told that leaving my car idle is bad and that when I start it I should just wait a minute and go.

My ex told me the opposite. He says that the car MUST warm up and that no damage is caused by it.

What information can you guys give me on this? Does it really matter?

Thank you!
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I suppose this would be affected quite a bit by where you are from. I didn't see that on your profile, so here goes my $0.02...

I live in florida, where the average temperate is about 70. i start the car, wait about 30 seconds or so and go. (enough time to put on a seatbelt and figure out what CD/radio station i want to listen to. I drive pretty normally on it till the engine temp is up to normal (about a mile) After that its haulin a$$ on the interstate to work.

If you live in farther north ,like say chicago 9 i used to live there) I'd reccomend giving it a few minutes to warm up slightly on these frosty days.

I think the important thing is not to flog the car when its cold. Getting in and going when it's cold is fie if you baby it.
I've owned many SOHC and DOHC vehicles in my life and most, if not all made some pretty ugly noises when driven above 2000 RPMs when they're cold. Personally, I think valvetrain components are a little out-of-spec when they're really cold - valve lash is a bit off until everything reaches operating temps. Combine that with the fact that oil does not circulate nor lubricate as intended until it's warmed.

I lived in Wyoming for 17 years, and 9-months out of the year it's a necessity to warm cars up before leaving home....or it's a miserable drive until things warm up. With the noises I hear from my Frontier, I can't imagine anything good is happening to the engine under those conditions, so it warms up for 5-10 minutes, depending on the temperature before I pull away. The engine sounds happy, I'm happy because I'm not holding a icy steering wheel and sitting on a frozen seat. I've had no ill effects from any of my 16 cars from giving them a morning warm-up.

A few guys on BITOG claim 'fuel dilution' from morning idling, but if that condition truly exists, wouldn't a lot more of us that sit idling in traffic jams every day suffer more main and rod bearing failures than we do? If there is fuel dilution occurring, it's minimal and not a worry.
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I think this topic will always up bring questions (especially during winter) because everyone has a different opinion/experiances. So I don't think that we will be able to get a definite answer.
But, since forums are places where peaple can state their opinions, here is mine.

Back in the day when most cars had carburators warm up time in winter was pretty much a must. Cars were very sluggish and stalled a lot when they were cold and that did not require temps well below freezing.
Now, with fuel injection that problem is completely gone. And with temps above freezing you can start and go right away rather safely (that is what most manufacturers recommend). When its really cold (like -20C in Toronto for a couple of weeks) I like to leave the car running for 2-5min.
I did an experiment ones. The temperature was about -10C and I left my car running for 15mins. When I was going into the car I thoght "Great, my car is nice and warm inside by now", well the needle was bareley close to the quarter mark (when its fully warm it is almost at the half mark).

So I guess that manufacturers are partially right by saying that the car will warm up the fastest when driven.

I still let my car idle for about 2 mins, 5mins is preatty much max as my experiment had shown that it just wastes gas and doesnt warm the car up.

I guess that either prolonged idleing nor driving right away will kill your car, so use your best judgement.
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if you start and go on cold days ur engine will not have the proper luberation from the oil.
It's really not a big deal either way. It's pointless to idle for long periods of time (extra gas and engine wear), but you want to go easy on an engine until it's up to operating temperature to allow slow, uniform thermal expansion of the engine components.

I usually idle for around 30 seconds on cold startup and then drive like a grandma until it's warm. Fortunately, the 3 warms up very quickly.
I always warm up until I reach normal rpm idle conditions(about 1k). If the car is idling higher than that, it seems to make me think that it isn't ready to cruise yet.

[quote author=rdasilva123 link=topic=71509.msg1258051#msg1258051 date=1173449631]
Hello all!

I was told that leaving my car idle is bad and that when I start it I should just wait a minute and go.

My ex told me the opposite. He says that the car MUST warm up and that no damage is caused by it.

What information can you guys give me on this? Does it really matter?

Thank you!
I believe my Owners Manual says to let it idle for 15 seconds under normal conditions before moving. If the temp is below 32 F, let it idle for 30 seconds before driving.

I usually do about 10 seconds in normal weather, and 60 seconds when the temp is in the 30's F or below.

In either condition, I think it states to drive under 3,000 rpm until the engine is fully warmed.
WOW, never just start your car and take off unless you're in a real hurry. If you do take off, keep rpms low until the engine is warmed up.

Metal expands and contracts in different temperatures, and oils warm up and flow better...

Jeeze... Diesel engines have a warning light telling you NOT to drive hard until the engine's at operating temperature. My dad's VW beetle has one too.

Even sport bike manufacturers tell you the operating temperature (170ish?) the temp gauge should read before taking off and driving.

I've seen people start a cold engine, then REV their engine at high rpms with no load, and it just boggles my mind...
Start and go. The engine will warm up faster when driving. Just don't push too hard for the first 10 miles or so. (Just because the temperature guage shows the car is warm in a couple of miles doesn't mean all the moving parts, such as suspension, are.)

Every single morning my wife jumps in her car, immediately throws it in gear, & zooms off fast. Drives me nuts, I cringe every morning.
I always let mine warm up. The colder, the longer.

She never drives 'spirited', I always do. Both cars get new synth oil every 6-8K.

Results... Her engine always sounds like popcorn, I need to tweak her lifters about every 25-30k. Hi mileage compression checks on older cars she had was pitiful.
Mine, no lifter adjustments ever needed, hi mileage compression like brand new.

Different makes & models of course, but this has been repeated for 20+ years.
I live in bitterly cold Michigan, and during the winter I let my car idle for about 30 seconds until the car is idling at normal rpm.
On a cold morning, I'm a 15 second warmer upper myself, but it only gets below 25*F once in a while and my car is garaged. I do drive pretty mellow for the first mile, and after that, I'm on the freeway doing 75mph.

My '99 Dakota R/T is parked outside, so I let it warm up about 1 minute on a cold morning. If it's above 50*F, I start and go with all my vehicles.

Darryl 8)
I never do a "jackrabbit" start, where you start the car and immediately (within 5 seconds) put it in gear and take off. If it's warm outside, 15 seconds is fine; on some of our coldest Minnesota mornings (say 10 below), I'll start the car and let it warm up while I brush the snow off and scrape the windows (about 5 minutes). Warming the car up will not hurt your car, but warming it up excessively for the conditions will just waste gas. For most people, 15-30 seconds is plenty.
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