Cold weather questions

Say the outside temperature is 20 deg. f and the drive to work is only 5 miles. Should your vehicle idle for 20 minutes until your oil temps. are normal or should you just drive the 5 miles and get what oil temps the short trip will provide. We know the longer a vehicle will idle the greater contamination of fuel and blow by which leads to increased wear. And the other edge of the problem just firing the thing up and taking off for only five miles will not get you anything but high condensation and high iron levels. That is my daily problem in the winter when it is very cold. It is not realistic to drive 50 miles just to achieve normal oil temperatures but then again everyone wants to take care of their engine. Short of a block heater or a oil heater what should a person do? Change oil every month or what? [Duh!]
 
Messages
423
Location
Boston, MA
IMO, Drive the car shortly after you start it but take is easy. Change the oil a little before the owner manual's severe interval. Do you drive longer on the weekends? [ August 04, 2003, 09:53 PM: Message edited by: MikeySoft ]
 
Messages
301
Location
SE Michigan
In the winter when the kids car is mostly driven just 2 miles to school, I like to block the air comming in at the grill. Just in front of or just behind the grill. This kills the upper portion of air flow, but still allows some space for the fan to pull some air if it has to. Air can also get in from the bottom openings below the bumper. This really helps speed warm up to operating temp. No long warm ups......2 min max I like to keep an eye out for condensation on the oil filler cap, a little drop or two I dont worry about, white frothey foam.....I change the PCV valve, and take it out for a good warm up. Then decide if I need to change the oil or not. If I feel the oil need to be changed in the middle of winter, and it has less than 2K on it, I don't bother changing the filter. I'll catch that in the spring. Take Care.....
 
Messages
6,614
Location
southeast US
If you are concerned about it, why not block heater? Last time I visited Scandinavia, all those volvos and saabs had electric plugs in the grills. I wonder if the gas savings can offset the electric bill (I am sure they do in Europe at over $ per litre).
 
Messages
4,912
Location
Lakeville, MN
Just do the normal drive thing and skip the extensive idling. Idling will do very little to bring oil temps up to evaporate moisture and fuel. Best advice is to take a drive once a week when its cold, and run out a few miles. Consider it a nice sunday drive. At 20f a block heater won't do much but keep you a little warmer on the way to work. Most manufacturers recommend use of the block heater when temps are going to be below 10F or 0F or so.
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
22,012
Location
Guelph, Ontario
Forget about idling it longer, why not just drive it longer during that time? Take a longer route to work. I know I'm a bit more obsessed than most people but if I've got a 5 mile trip to make, especially in the winter, I take a much longer route which usually results in me driving about 30 miles! Although I do just love to drive, so for me it's not a hassle, it just gives me more time behind the wheel. For me driving is very relaxing.
 
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
A typical block heater is about 450 watts for a car, 600 for a truck. I plug in anytime it's below freezing and I have access to 120V. At 20F, plug in for an hour or two and the engine will probably run at low idle immediately after startup and hit normal operating temp within a minute or two. Well worth it for a nickel's worth of electricity! Of course, still drive it easy for a few minutes to warm everything else up. [ August 08, 2003, 02:44 PM: Message edited by: rpn453 ]
 
Messages
451
Location
Bribie Island, Oz
If you have power in the garage, use an electric frypan, set on lowest "simmer" setting (thermostat must be working), put the lid on an put under the block. The lid must be just warm to the touch. That warm air rising all night helps a lot in morning starts.
 
Messages
451
Location
Bribie Island, Oz
Hi Doug, I had just bought the car, a high mileage V8, and I was feeling sorry for it - I mean the temp dropped to 10c (50F) and I thought I would warm it up a bit. Pretty silly eh? I've had it for 12 months now and don't bother any more. [Smile] Do you know of an oil filter I can get over this side of the pond that has the by-pass valve in the inlet end, as opposed to the closed end, all the ones I have seen have the BP valve down the closed end. Dave cheers.
 
Messages
167
Location
chicago burbs
I have electric start on my 03 maxima and i let it warm up like 10 min. last winter here in chicago. So i take it this isn't a good habit to get into?
 
Messages
15
Location
South Dakota
I drive many short trips in winter, and to compensate a little I have a block heater and an oil pan heater in my Honda Pilot V6. The pan heater is a thin orange pad with a cord coming out of it that is attached to the bottom of the pan. It is not very many watts (75 I think), and it is about 4x6 inches or so (I can't remember exactly). Different sizes are different wattages. You need to make sure the surface it is attached to is smooth--without any air pockets under the pad. There is usually a big enough surface on the bottom of the pan. It doesn't have to be flat--just so all of the pad is attached to the pan. The pad will get too hot otherwise without the heatsink of the pan & oil. I attached it with some hi-temp silicone, and made sure all the air was pushed out by using a little 1 inch paint roller. Napa carries them.
 
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