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Old 12-30-2010, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default Winter Driving - Warm up cars ??

Anyone knew of this?

Those of us who live in a four-season climate are used to the idea of allowing our vehicles to warm up on a cold winter's day. But with the technology in today's automobiles, is this still something we should be doing? The simple answer is no. For the most part, letting your vehicle idle for long periods of time in the cold is not only bad for the environment, but can cause serious damage to your engine and emission system.

In the past, most vehicles employed a carburetor to deliver fuel to the engine. Today, almost all cars, trucks and SUVs on the road use some form of electronic fuel injection. In a cold engine, the computer management system tells the fuel injectors to stay open longer allowing more fuel to flow into the engine in part to keep the engine running cool. Trying to warm up the engine at slightly above idle speed is actually doing the reverse and inviting additional problems.

Cold engines produce a much higher level of unburned hydrocarbons as fuel needs heat to burn efficiently. Even the best catalytic converter is unable to process 100 per cent while running at maximum temperature, so allowing the engine to idle for extended periods of time can start to clog the system.

In addition, spark plugs may also become plugged or dirty due to inefficient fuel burning. Older vehicles required regular maintenance, calling for spark plugs to be changed every 30,000 km. Today, almost all engines employ an electronic ignition system that requires spark plugs to be changed at intervals in the range of 100,000 km. An engine at idle for extensive periods of time could dramatically shorten the life of your plugs, causing you to spend hard-earned money on unnecessary service and maintenance.

A better approach is to start your vehicle and let it run for up to one minute before driving away. This will allow fluids to begin flowing through the engine and then warm up to efficient temperatures under normal driving conditions.

Should the temperature outside dip below freezing, allow a maximum of four to five minutes of idle time before driving away. This should be just enough time to clean off any snow or ice that may have accumulated on the windows. While you may not be warm as toast on the way into work or school, you will benefit by saving money at the pump and garage and by driving a vehicle that runs cleaner and more efficient for many years to come.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coupe380 View Post
Anyone knew of this?

Those of us who live in a four-season climate are used to the idea of allowing our vehicles to warm up on a cold winter's day. But with the technology in today's automobiles, is this still something we should be doing? The simple answer is no. For the most part, letting your vehicle idle for long periods of time in the cold is not only bad for the environment, but can cause serious damage to your engine and emission system.

In the past, most vehicles employed a carburetor to deliver fuel to the engine. Today, almost all cars, trucks and SUVs on the road use some form of electronic fuel injection. In a cold engine, the computer management system tells the fuel injectors to stay open longer allowing more fuel to flow into the engine in part to keep the engine running cool. Trying to warm up the engine at slightly above idle speed is actually doing the reverse and inviting additional problems.

Cold engines produce a much higher level of unburned hydrocarbons as fuel needs heat to burn efficiently. Even the best catalytic converter is unable to process 100 per cent while running at maximum temperature, so allowing the engine to idle for extended periods of time can start to clog the system.

In addition, spark plugs may also become plugged or dirty due to inefficient fuel burning. Older vehicles required regular maintenance, calling for spark plugs to be changed every 30,000 km. Today, almost all engines employ an electronic ignition system that requires spark plugs to be changed at intervals in the range of 100,000 km. An engine at idle for extensive periods of time could dramatically shorten the life of your plugs, causing you to spend hard-earned money on unnecessary service and maintenance.

A better approach is to start your vehicle and let it run for up to one minute before driving away. This will allow fluids to begin flowing through the engine and then warm up to efficient temperatures under normal driving conditions.

Should the temperature outside dip below freezing, allow a maximum of four to five minutes of idle time before driving away. This should be just enough time to clean off any snow or ice that may have accumulated on the windows. While you may not be warm as toast on the way into work or school, you will benefit by saving money at the pump and garage and by driving a vehicle that runs cleaner and more efficient for many years to come.
I usually don't let it idle, but make sure that you don't bring up the revs if your car is not warmed up. The oil on a cold motor is a bit thicker and thus does not lubricate as well, which may cause damage to the motor over time.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:12 AM   #3
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thanks that is great to know.
thats what i've read last year when i bought my first car, and this year traded it in and got my GC. how is weather out in Edmonton? Over here in Toronto is good so far, not much snow this year.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:14 AM   #4
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Edmonton has just been cold usually around -20ish burrrrrrrr
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:55 AM   #5
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i always thought it was to allow for proper lubrication of the engine since all the oil settles in the drain pan over night ?
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:55 AM   #6
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My mechanic friend tells me that your car can be driven away after 30 seconds.. but just don't rev it pass 3k and let the engine warm up meanwhile driving
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Old 12-31-2010, 04:56 PM   #7
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I drive my car before starting it, best thing for the engine IMO...

But seriously, I just remote start while I'm opening my gate; gives a good minute or two of time for all the fluids to do their thing.

Here's a question, let's say you remote start a car, then get in it and hit the brake and shuts off the car; if you start it up immediately after, will that be bad for your engine in any way? Also, what if you turn the key while the cars already started? Just some things I've absentmindedly done when I had just installed remote start on my car.
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:01 PM   #8
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For me, I just start and go. But though I take it easy till the engine is fully warmed up.
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:12 AM   #9
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just park it somewhere warm... like CA or FL!
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
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Just start it an f**kin' punch it, see if you can make the car suck it's own turbine into the engine.

Srsly tho, I warm all my cars for 3-5 mins (except now since I park indoors) partly cause I want the engine moving good, and partly cause I don't feel like freezing. Can't be too bad for the engine since my past couple vehicles died at over 300k from non-engine problems (transmissions, rust, etc..)
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coupe380 View Post
Even the best catalytic converter is unable to process 100 per cent while running at maximum temperature, so allowing the engine to idle for extended periods of time can start to clog the system.
No catalyst operates at 100% efficiency. The reason you should drive your car right after it's initial cold-start sequence is to allow the catalytic converter to reach optimum temperature sooner. When the optimum temperature is reached, vehicle emissions are at it's cleanest, idling or not.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:41 AM   #12
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i was told by my friend who drives 911 turbo and audi s8 that for turbo cars like the 2.0T GC, i should warm up the car for 5mins every morning before driving out and also once i reach my destination, also let the car idle for 5 mins. is that neccessary?

i dont usually rev up so much that the turbo kicks in for a long time when i drive unless i wanna pass some smart car on the hwy driving at 80km/h, so idling the car after i reach the destination for that long seems unnecessary.. what do u guys say?
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:38 AM   #13
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I believe our turbo's are oil/water cooled so for your own piece of mind you can let it idle for about 30 seconds to a minute which is what I do OR you can just drive like a granny when you are starting to approach your destination and when you arrive shut it down =D
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:03 PM   #14
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I just go. I try not to get crazy till the needle stops moving though.
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #15
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OP ~ Coupe380, good post & I agree with pretty much all of it, esp the part about allowing your car to idle to long prior to driving, because it will damage your catalytic converter & they are ridiculously expensive to replace. It doesn't just apply to colder climates with 4 seasons either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobwells89 View Post
i always thought it was to allow for proper lubrication of the engine since all the oil settles in the drain pan over night ?
see Dragibwongs post below... I agree with it completely.

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Originally Posted by Dragonwong View Post
My mechanic friend tells me that your car can be driven away after 30 seconds.. but just don't rev it pass 3k and let the engine warm up meanwhile driving
+1....

Quote:
Originally Posted by EVG_DL View Post
I drive my car before starting it, best thing for the engine IMO...

But seriously, I just remote start while I'm opening my gate; gives a good minute or two of time for all the fluids to do their thing.

Here's a question, let's say you remote start a car, then get in it and hit the brake and shuts off the car; if you start it up immediately after, will that be bad for your engine in any way? Also, what if you turn the key while the cars already started? Just some things I've absentmindedly done when I had just installed remote start on my car.
If the car cuts off & you restart it, no issues should result. However I don't recommend starting the car over & over & over.

Same thing with starting a car that is already started, it shouldn't cause any noticeable damage unless you keep doing this over & over as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2.0TCoupeL View Post
I believe our turbo's are oil/water cooled so for your own piece of mind you can let it idle for about 30 seconds to a minute which is what I do OR you can just drive like a granny when you are starting to approach your destination and when you arrive shut it down =D
+1.......
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobwells89 View Post
i always thought it was to allow for proper lubrication of the engine since all the oil settles in the drain pan over night ?
you're actually better off driving away sooner because the lateral acceleration of the vehicle will allow the oil to circulate even better. also, the car will warm up faster so it will in effect be running cold for a shorter period of time. this should be better for all moving/lubricated parts since running cold is relatively harder on them than when they're warmed up. finally... your gas mileage will improve slightly. like the op said, when an engine is running cold, it's running inefficiently, not combusting all the fuel that's going through it (some uncombusted fuel is thrown out the exhaust). this is why fuel mileage is so pitiful in the winter (in temperate climates) compared to the summer. so, i say if you're going to get sh1t mileage, you're better off with the car moving than standing still. sh1t mileage is better than no mileage.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:08 AM   #17
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your car actually warms up quicker if you driver it sensibly for the first 5 minutes.
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