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Old 01-11-2015, 06:48 PM
Location: I am right here.
4,914 posts, read 4,036,577 times
Reputation: 15540


Originally Posted by randomparent View Post
My vehicle spends most of its time in a well-insulated garage, so this is not typically an issue for me. On the rare occasion that it is exposed to a very cold environment for an extended amount of time, I let it run for 60 seconds or so before beginning to drive.
When I am at home, mine is garaged as well. However, I have a job, so sometimes it snows when I am at work. Or the day's high is -1 degree F, as it was Wednesday. Or it snows all day, like it did Thursday. On those days, I open up my app and hit "start". By the time I pack up my stuff, get my coat on, and walk down to the parking lot, the car is nicely defrosting. I just have to brush off any snow and get in and go home.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:52 AM
4,718 posts, read 8,944,137 times
Reputation: 2153
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
Do you mean your electric motor? Or the engine? It would make no sense for the engine to remain off at anything below freezing unless it has already warmed up.
It's a volt.

In the cold - When you remote start or start the car - The computers turn on and one of things it does is start to circulate engine anti-freeze. There are three cooling/heat exchange systems in the car. It then starts to electrically warm up the anti-freeze to get the battery, electronics, and interior temperature to the optimum or pre-set temperatures. Assuming it is warmer than 15F, it will do this all using battery power.

IF any of the coolant tanks gets below 15F, the internal combustion engine will turn on, just for the purposes of creating additional heat.

The above assumes that there is battery charge left in the battery pack. Since I charge up every night, in the morning, when I remote start it is plugged in to house power and typically at 100% charge.

If the battery is depleted, it runs like a hybrid car. Only the motor will not turn of if you come to a complete stop if the coolant temps are lower than +15F.
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:44 AM
2,004 posts, read 1,200,662 times
Reputation: 2909
I start the car, turn on the seat heaters, defroster/heater and go back inside to get the coffee. The small amount of gasoline used isn't the problem and causes far less pollution than people running gas powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:27 PM
208 posts, read 279,495 times
Reputation: 172
There is no firm consensus on this.
So just like the 3000mile OCI or dumping the factory fill, people are entrenched into their positions and do whatever makes you feel better.

However I'll explain the argument and theory of the other side. Take it or leave it.

I will claim that no owner's manual says you need to idle to warm it up. If you disagree, please find an example from a modern car (i.e. fuel injected with computers and smog controls).
Some manuals give the exact opposite instruction regarding cold startup and not only say there is no benefit to idling to "warm it up", but tell you instead to go immediately drive at a slow/moderate pace which actually warms the car up faster.

This doesn't mean jump to a high load immediately or drive if there is another reason why car is not yet safe to drive (frozen windshield, brakes/gears don't work right when cold, etc), but I'm just talking about the engine and the imaginary cold "damage".

If you have such an extreme cold temperature where the "cold" oil is causing damage, idle versus driving at a slow rate is going to cause the same damage. If the engine is running at all to perform the "warm up" it's doing the same damage whether it does it in your driveway or at low moving speeds.

What some manuals will say you that if you are in EXTREME cold, where the engine damage could occur, you need to install a block heater or alternate means to do the "warm up" before starting the engine at all. But idling to do the warm up isn't going to prevent damage

If you want evidence in the form of a thought experiment, think what does the car do on a cold start? It idles faster not slower.
If cold was "damaging" from lack of "warmed up oil" you'd expect it would have to run at a slower pump RPM and startup sequence to pump and flow the oil(like some airplanes) before the car actually fires up the engine.

Since there's no separate sequence, same "damage" occurs at idle versus getting on with it. You could dissect whether the damage is actually less because the idle is more to just barely keeping the car on, versus actually warming it up.

Not saying go out and race vin diesel for slips or motor up pikes peak from cold start, but if the car "wants" to idle at 1500 to warm up faster, 2000rpm and gentle driving will achieve that goal even better.

Take it or leave it; idling won't "hurt", but it may not really help you other than piece of mind.

Check your owner's manual see if they say anything for your car. That's a more definite precise source versus yahoo's on the internet.
Cold weather warm up? | Passenger Car Motor Oil (PCMO) - Gasoline Cars/Pickups/Vans/SUVs | Bob Is The Oil Guy
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:52 AM
Location: San Diego
34,963 posts, read 31,977,547 times
Reputation: 19435
They make small battery powered, clip on heaters for windows now.Very efficient. I don't even "warm up" my Diesel. Wait for the plug light to turn off, start and drive. When I lived in CO I had a block heater and had it on a timer to start an hour before I needed to drive.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:23 AM
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,098 posts, read 24,825,617 times
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I am not getting into a freezing cold car nor for that matter am I getting in one that has been sitting in the sun at 90 degrees for 8 hours.

I set my heat and defrosters in winter and air conditioning in summer so it's ready to go when I hit the remote start
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Old 01-22-2015, 12:23 PM
Location: the real CA.
87 posts, read 73,866 times
Reputation: 68
yes you must warm up your motor before moving it.
not to be confused with full operating temp.
get the oil (motors blood) moving through all of the motor. and warmed up to do its job in the best manner it is made to do. and critical parts have begun to be there working size (things expand when hot).

the motor is designed and built to be hot when in operation.
cold motors do not flow the oil correctly, and can burn up your motor sooner than it should.
(even just turning your motor off for a red light will burn it up faster then normal).
--think oil drain. lack of proper lube where needed--.

most of us live in climates that are ok with varied metals. but in very cold places where people do live metal gets "brittle" and will fail when cold stressed.

try this with a brand new motor. just jump in each day start it up and go. NO wait time allowed. your motor will be toast within 60K miles. (by 40K might not pass the smog testing).

do it right and the same motor can last 300K + miles. (and yes even pass the so called smog testing programs)

this is with all proper maint on both motors.
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:32 PM
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,070 posts, read 2,355,424 times
Reputation: 1420
In layman's terms, for people who might not know how an engine works:

Oil keeps things gliding smoothly. Metal-on metal is bad, and oil keeps it nice and lubricated. When you park your car overnight, all of the oil settles to the bottom of the engine (in the oil pan). Most of the moving bits of an engine, where the oil is needed most, are near the top. When it's cold out, the oil moves like syrup. So if you literally turn your car on, and immediately drive off, the thick, syrup-like oil hasn't had enough time to climb its way up.

Unless you live in Canada or Alaska, 60 seconds should be enough time to get the oil to the top (and it'll warm up and thin out / spread more as you drive). If you're in the great white north, you may opt to install a few electrical heater systems ("block heaters" and "oil heaters"). Plug them in before you set off, and things will be slightly better before you start up.

So, in response to the articles that seem to be going around this winter: YES, modern fuel injected vehicles are better at running while cold, so theoretically you can drive instead of spending fuel idling, waiting for it to warm. But there's still other components that need at least a few seconds to warm up.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:02 AM
Location: Central Maine
2,867 posts, read 2,975,581 times
Reputation: 3981
Myth or not I do it, I don't care what that post says. Need to get the back window defrosted. Need to get the front window defrosting. Need to get the engine oil warmed up; thinned out and flowing.
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:18 PM
Location: Forests of Maine
30,639 posts, read 49,293,953 times
Reputation: 19039
Our cars are parked at night under a roof, so the snow does not pile up on them.

We can generally drive immediately after starting them. But keep in mind the windshield even with no snow or ice on it, is still -10F. A clean windshield as these temps will ice-up when you start moving, unless it id being defrosted.

Sometimes we can do it. We can jump in and drive, and the engine finally begins producing heat, before the windshield ices up.

Sometimes we can not do it. Right in our driveway, the windshield ices-up and you can not see anything.

Generally it is better to let our cars sit a few minutes, to begin putting out warm air, before driving.

Thankfully, we live in a rural area where we can drive 10 miles and commonly not see any other vehicles. The more urban you get, the more dangerous it is when windshields are iced-up.
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