Is there any practical benefit to letting a passenger car oil warm up before driving?

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Jun 22, 2016
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MI
With a standard passenger car, toyota camry, is there any mechanical benefit to letting the oil warm up in standard midwest winter, 10 - 30F, temps? When doing an oil change I noticed oil at operating temps runs out like water. About an hour later when draining the oil collection pan at 50F garage temps I noticed the oil ran like maple syrup. This is using a 5 30W synthetic oil. When it gets down to 20F I would imagine it runs even thicker. I am thinking that the car is designed to run best at stabilized operating temps where the oil runs like water. How much, if any, does the extra thickness of 20F oil wear the engine? Standard practice with fuel injected engines is they don't need any warm up but is there any benefit to letting the engine come up in temp just a bit and give a minute or two to warm the oil up to 100F or so?
 
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When I lived in a colder climate, I always kept my car in an unheated but attached garage. It was cold in the garage but probably not much below freezing. I started the car and waited long enough to put on my shoulder harness and check the mirrors. Then it was time to go.

I used a 0W-30 oil (BMW) or 5W-20 oil (everything else in the past few years).

I did one start with my Honda in -30C weather when it was parked outside overnight. The block heater was plugged in but the engine didn't turn over with any enthusiasm. The seat was even rock hard. I let it warm up for a few minutes that time. I don't think I could have kept the windshield clear otherwise.
 

ZeeOSix

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With a standard passenger car, toyota camry, is there any mechanical benefit to letting the oil warm up in standard midwest winter, 10 - 30F, temps? When doing an oil change I noticed oil at operating temps runs out like water. About an hour later when draining the oil collection pan at 50F garage temps I noticed the oil ran like maple syrup.
I wouldn't say it's as thick as "maple syrup", but it will of course be a little thicker. Besides, if oil is at 190-200F when the engine is shut off it's not going to cool down all the way to the ambient 50F garage in an hour, that's impossible ... maybe in 6-8 hours it would.

This is using a 5 30W synthetic oil. When it gets down to 20F I would imagine it runs even thicker. I am thinking that the car is designed to run best at stabilized operating temps where the oil runs like water. How much, if any, does the extra thickness of 20F oil wear the engine?
Just think of how many millions of vehicles have been started up 100s of times in temperatures at 20F or below. How many have blown-up or hit the junk yard too early because the engine was smoked from cold starts. The most important thing is to use an oil with the correct "W" (Winter) viscosity rating for the worst cold start conditions you will see, and to always let the oil warm up pretty good before revving the engine too high. Keep the engine below 2500 RPM until the oil is warmed up pretty good from easy driving (around 15 min). Or if it has an oil temperature gauge then go by that.
 
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Nov 28, 2012
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Ontario, Canada
With a standard passenger car, toyota camry, is there any mechanical benefit to letting the oil warm up in standard midwest winter, 10 - 30F, temps? When doing an oil change I noticed oil at operating temps runs out like water. About an hour later when draining the oil collection pan at 50F garage temps I noticed the oil ran like maple syrup. This is using a 5 30W synthetic oil. When it gets down to 20F I would imagine it runs even thicker. I am thinking that the car is designed to run best at stabilized operating temps where the oil runs like water. How much, if any, does the extra thickness of 20F oil wear the engine? Standard practice with fuel injected engines is they don't need any warm up but is there any benefit to letting the engine come up in temp just a bit and give a minute or two to warm the oil up to 100F or so?
In colder climes, start the car, put on the seat belt, wait for the computer to fully load and go, but don't gun it yet.
 
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Atlanta, GA
All my cars - start and idle long enough to buckle my seatbelt, turn the seat heaters on, plug my phone in and get desired music playing then off we go. When the windows are frosted over add a couple minutes for scraping.

I live in a gated condo community so there is about ¼ mile of 5-10 mph rolling around, then its about another ½ mile of 25 MPH neighborhood roads before you really have to open it up to the 35 MPH speed limit on the nearby local roads. :ROFLMAO: Plenty of time for all the juices to get where they need to be in the powertrain.
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2015
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Upper midwest
I warm up my car even in the summer for 2 mins and winter 4 mins or so before I drive off. I do this to let the pistons expand a bit before getting load, as I have a high boosted engine. I have seen some junkyard Hyundai engines with bad piston skirt wear. Just trying to keep my highly thrashed engine in good shape to take it's long term beating.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2006
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HUGE practical benefit...for me. I'll let that sucker sit for 30 minutes or more. Heat cranked. Seat and steering wheel heaters on high... When I decide it's time to go, everything is nice and toasty, I'm comfortable, and can see out the windows safely.

A vehicle is a tool built to serve; a slave if you will. It's going to depreciate and break despite your best efforts.
 
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Nov 9, 2008
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I don’t think there is benefit, not until below 0F. Gentle driving will bring it up to temp fast enough; if it is too cold then you didn’t dress for the weather IMO.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2017
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Ontario, Canada
You'd warm it up quicker by driving around. I let it sit for a minute at most, usually 30 seconds.

Driving off after 5 seconds is asking for problems, and waiting 5 minutes would waste your time.
Exactly. I give it about 30s, then drive off and drive gently till warmed up. Idling will take 10x longer to warm up, which means 10x the amount of time to add to fuel dilution, and excess blow by, and condensation buildup in the oil. BMW seat/steering wheel heaters are amazing and will be noticeable after just that 30s.
 
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Mar 2, 2013
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I live in Ohio and park in an attached garage. I do park outside at work and work a 10 hour shift. I start whatever I’m driving and drive normally. The only time I let my car warm up is when scrapping the rare ice or snow event.
 
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