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Old 01-02-2009, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Baywood Park
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We don't live in cold weather, but my wife every morning starts the car and immediately proceeds to drive to work. What's the rule of thumb?
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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Probably in CA that is OK. Rifleman posed a really good discussion of warmups in one thread or another here. Letting the engine idle for about 30 seconds is probably better than driving away literally as soon as the engine starts.

Most Americans drive too hard on a cold engine and not hard enough once warm.

If you ever drive a water-cooled car that has water *and* oil temp gauges, you will see that the water temp is pretty much up to spec within 2 miles, while the oil takes more like 5 to 7 miles.

One wants to keep RPM relatively low till the oil warms up, one wants to moderate his lead foot while the engine is cold because the clamping forces on the head gasket are less while cold, blowby is increased, condensation of water ("waters of combustion") is enhanced while cold, and engine seals are stiff and less able to deal with fluids that want to leak than they will be when hot.

High RPM with cold oil will generally open the bypass inside the oil filter, allowing unfiltered oil to go to the bearings, and if you use a cheap filter, you may manage to dislodge some of the particles previously trapped.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Minnesota, USA
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You can drive "not hard enough"? I always try to keep my accelerations and stops calm when I drive to save gas mileage. I usually try to keep it under 2000 - 2300 rpm (with the exception of spikes to higher RPMs if I'm passing or starting out).

Anyway, as for the subject on hand, here in Minnesota it's a big issue - unlike CA's Central Coast. On some mornings (those which are literally -20 F or colder - NOT windchill) I actually let it warm up for half and hour or so - and it still drives crappy. As a result my gas mileage goes way down in the winter.

Last edited by tvdxer; 01-02-2009 at 08:17 PM..
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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You are answering your own question - if you would accelerate somewhat harder you would (probably) build a little more heat into the system. I'm not saying drive over your head or do anything unsafe, but when the conditions are OK for it, the non-enthusiast driver would benefit the car by doing a little "soot blowing".

Although, your car(s) will likely rust out before the engines are worn out anyway...

Half-hour of idling to warm up is almost certainly excessive, may be helping to foul your plugs.

Windchill matters for people and animals, a car only responds to the actual temperature.
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Minnesota, USA
7,545 posts, read 8,287,930 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
You are answering your own question - if you would accelerate somewhat harder you would (probably) build a little more heat into the system. I'm not saying drive over your head or do anything unsafe, but when the conditions are OK for it, the non-enthusiast driver would benefit the car by doing a little "soot blowing".

Although, your car(s) will likely rust out before the engines are worn out anyway...

Half-hour of idling to warm up is almost certainly excessive, may be helping to foul your plugs.

Windchill matters for people and animals, a car only responds to the actual temperature.
I meant to say "NOT windchill" ... we've already had two -20 or near mornings here, without windchill.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:18 AM
 
Location: St Joseph
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As mentioned above, oil is the main factor to consider. Friction wear on cyl. walls and bearings. Most car companies have tried to remedy this by changing the oil viscosity. Ever notice how a newer car revs a little up on start up then idles back down. That is to get that new thinner oil pumped.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Oswego, IL
5,662 posts, read 6,762,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
You can drive "not hard enough"? I always try to keep my accelerations and stops calm when I drive to save gas mileage. I usually try to keep it under 2000 - 2300 rpm (with the exception of spikes to higher RPMs if I'm passing or starting out).

Anyway, as for the subject on hand, here in Minnesota it's a big issue - unlike CA's Central Coast. On some mornings (those which are literally -20 F or colder - NOT windchill) I actually let it warm up for half and hour or so - and it still drives crappy. As a result my gas mileage goes way down in the winter.
I have woke up in a motels in Minn and had to get into my truck and go to work. It can be brutal. Remember that the engine produces heat. The transmission may get a little heat via transfer from the engine. In reality the rest of the car will not warm up until it is moving. The only way to keep a vehicle from driving crappy, if by crappy you are not referring to the way the engine runs, is to keep it in a heated garage. I would save some money and shorten my warm up time.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:00 AM
 
2,217 posts, read 482,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA central coast View Post
We don't live in cold weather, but my wife every morning starts the car and immediately proceeds to drive to work. What's the rule of thumb?
No problem at all, provided she doesn't rev the engine up before it's warmed up. Regular driving will not hurt the car at all.

I lived for many years in Minnesota. It could be brutal in the winter. But even under those conditions, if you could get your car started, it wasn't necessary to let it warm up forever. 5 minutes tops. The key is to not hot-rod the engine when it's cold.

Last edited by Filet Mignon; 01-03-2009 at 09:18 AM..
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Chicago
36,595 posts, read 57,867,463 times
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I wouldn't worry about it unless it gets well below freezing, which I'm guessing doesn't happen often if at all where you live. As long as she's gentle on the throttle and keeps the RPMs low until it's up to full operating temperature, no worries.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:35 PM
 
Location: AZ
19,646 posts, read 51,198,428 times
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Ive always let my engines warm up for a few minutes before driving. My car has oil temp gauges and youd be surprised to see how far I have to drive before the oil reaches normal operating temps. If you absolutely must start up the engine and immediately drive away, do so very slowly until the engine reaches normal operating temps, etc. On the super-cold sub-zero mornings we occasionally have in winter, I usually let the car warm up for 5-10 minutes. Even them sometimes its hardly even warm at all!! Even some cars like the BMW M3 wont allow a cold engine to be revved past a certain RPM when cold. Its not until the engine has warmed up fully that the ECU will allow maximum revs, etc.
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