New Car Cold Idle

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Sep 27, 2003
No, I don't see it as a problem, no special break-in routine is required for today's engines. As far as idling to full operating temperature, sure, the prolonged exposure to rich fuel conditions shortens the useful life of the oil and may generate a miniscule amount of increased wear. But this is just a standard operating proceedure for a car in a northern state with snow & very cold temps. What's the problem with the dealer following this practice if the new owner will be doing the same thing to the vehicle, a day after it is sold, in the parking lot at work? [Smile]
Yea, I'm not concerned about letting my car warm up in the mornings, especially when it was 15 below the other morning. I mean, I had to let it warm up cause the clutch was darn near inoperable. I let it ide for a solid 15 minutes while I stayed inside toasty warm with a hot cup of joe. Although I do have a long highway commute so that likely burned off any fuel dilution.
Ditto - we had 15 below the other morning as well. There is no way, with that cold horrible first starting the engine sound, that I'd only let it idle for 30-50 seconds before popping it into drive. My idle sits at 1200rpm's when it's that cold, and I just can't fathom the oil even having a chance to get to the top of the engine that fast. I too let mine run for a good 15-20 minutes those 3 REAL cold days. I have always been somewhat of an "idler", at least in the last 5 yrs of moving back to Colorado's winters; and I have 150+k miles on the said "idler's" engine, and I'm not forseeing any problems related to letting it idle on cold mornings.
Apparently, when it snows, all of the cars are brushed off and "warmed up" to get rid of the snow.
See this a lot up here (Northern Mich) but its not likely they were running to melt snow but rather to move them to clean the lots of snow. Move car, remove snow, move car back. Back in the late 60s/70 they built Camaros at a Chevy plant in Norwood, Ohio. Norwood was land-locked and didn't have room for rail loading on-site, so their cars destined for rail shipment had to be driven two miles from the plant to a rail-loading site; the shipper had shuttle buses to bring his drivers back to the plant from the rail yard. You think there was temptation to get on those Z28's and SS 396 Camaros on that 2 miles trip?
I just dropped one of my cars off at the dealer for warranty work today here in PA, where we had about 8 inches of snow overnight. I get to the dealer's at about 8:00 a.m., and just about every car on the lot (new & used) has its engine running. Apparently, when it snows, all of the cars are brushed off and "warmed up" to get rid of the snow. Wouldn't these "cold idles" be terrible for an engine, especially new engines that may not be broken in? Makes you wonder about buying a new car in the winter....
I was wondering something along these lines today. I have a 2005 Toyota Highlander with a M1 filter and 5w30. On my ride home from work it was about 5 degrees and I started right up and only have to go about 2 blocks until I am on the highway. Is it hurting my engine to get up to 60mph within like 2 minutes of startup? It holds it in a lower gear until the engine warms and then lets 4th gear engage. Any advice is appreciated!
remote starters are sweet. i have one on my neon, i let it warm up for about 10 min every morning. just have to remember to set the hvac on defrost, full heat and full fan the nite before.
Yes, the cold idles are horrible for the engines, however it guarentees that a potential buyer will find the car starts "right up" in the dead of winter should such a buyer drop buy under said conditions.
Not really. Unless they do it every single morning and the car sits on the lot for several months it's really not a big deal. I don't believe you'll see any difference whatsoever in the longevity or durability of those cars.
I have remote start in my vehicles and warm them for about 5-7 minutes on very cold days. Always done that and never had a problem. In fact in summer I warm for 30 seconds to a minute to circulate oil.
I don't really like that practice - I have no data to say it's really bad though*, but car lot clowns scare me. Must have been a childhood thing. *I'm a break 'em in a varying speeds, a bit hard kind of guy.
I have a similar situation, my workplace is 1 1/2 miles off the freeway with only a stop sign & a single stoplight before the ramp. Last week, it was in the single digits for 4-5 days and when it is very cold, it takes about 12 miles & 15 minutes for the oil pressure to settle down from 65+ psi to the 53 psi mark for my 5.3L GMC Sierra 4x4. I try & go easy on the gas pedal, certainly no hard acceleration for passing, and limit the speed to 65 mph until the pressure gauge & coolant temp indicate the engine is at full operating temperature.
>So is it bad to start my car up in single digit temps and then get on to the highway within a few minutes? It's not BEING on the highway that's the problem, it's the GETTING ON the highway that's hard. So keep the revs down when it's cold.
I have the same with the freeway less than a mile from my work then it's 60 miles down the freeway. I do what Blue99 does. [Cheers!] Keep the revs down and stay around 60-65 (2400-2600RPM on my Toyota) (well under 2000 rpm on my Silverado) until temps are up to normal. The UOAs are not showing anything wrong with doing this, they look the same all year round.. Take care, Bill [Coffee] PS: And I idle for maybe a min.. No more than that.
Thes last couple of mornings it has been in the single digits....I start my Matrix up and let her idle for maybe 3-4-5 minutes...I have found if I don't let her idle a bit it sounds like I have a diesel engine under the hood
Refreshing string of posts here, I live in a harsh winter climate, I drive Nissan/Datsun for 28 years now, they give an excellent winterized package for Canada, (I dont know what package the U.S. gets) Anyway, many in Bitog will say idle for as long as it takes to clean off windshield and drive off gentle. In -20 to -40 if I dropped my tranny into gear at 1500 rpm with a froze drive train or even blockheated I would be picking up pieces behind with a wheel barrow. My Nissan will fast idle 3-5 minutes at fast idle on computerized system, when that idle goes to 1000 rpm the temp gauge is on extreme bottom point of coolent temp gauge. At this Nissan engineered point it is ready to drive off gentle safe with no damage. I do not have a specific idle time, length of block heater time, wind, , degree of sub zero weather will change idle time. Varies from 3-6 minutes, I sit in car and wait until the specific engineered fast idle decreases in 3-6 minutes and temp gauge hits safe spot and drive off gentle, at this point the oil is warmed when I pull out dipstick and feel it, in extreme cold temps the engine warms extremely fast on gentle drive off, I stay at about 1700 rpm with auto tranny, this is a good load on cold engine IMO. If Nissan engineers wanted that QR25DE driving off in a frozen block state as many advocate in Bitog there would not be a 5 minute fast idle in -40 thus beating the crap out of the froze drivetrain. Idle in neutral also warms tranny, I also polar bear it by not turning heat on immediately, that greatly speeds up warm up, but becareful on that, if one waits too long before turning on heat then extreme defrost heat on froze windshield may crack it especially with a slight crack or stone chip helping it out. I learn how every vehicle I drive was engineered and drive it according to engineer design, I have driven Nissans/Datsuns/Honda for 300k+ in extreme harsh winters up here 28 years now, never open up an engine except tappets and time chain/belt maintainance, my success is driving to engineer design, every vehicles engineers tells a story if we listen to it, learn and run it accordingly to your winterization of the vehicle and drive it forever in my opinion, it works for me from freezing to freezing to -40. The engineering in those extreme temp range works the same, idle goes down safe at extreme low end of temp coolant gauge, this ensures I never over idle by sitting in car waiting for the engineering to tell me when I am at optimum temp without over idle but safely warmed up. My current Nissan now only has 8000 miles on it, I would never drive off instantly cold now or in 12 years from now, wont last that way, I have to go with 28 solid years of success following engineered design of my vehicles. Cyprs
Cyprs in Saskatchewan said: "In -20 to -40 if I dropped my tranny into gear at 1500 rpm with a froze drive train or even blockheated I would be picking up pieces behind with a wheel barrow." I live in Montana, where it often gets to -20 to -40 below. My vehicles spend the night in an insullated garage that has a woodstove, tho I don't have the stove going at night, or during most days, just when I'm working out there. In the winter the garage, when its unheated, is about 30 degrees warmer than outside, so at bitterly cold temps the vehicle is started at a much higher temp than outside. However, before I had a garage, and when I come home from work, I've always started the vehicle up, put it in gear (I've always driven manuals) and drive off, without sitting around more than a minute for a vehicle warmup. I've never had damage caused by this when it was -20 to -40 below, and have run a number of vehicles for over 100,000 mi. I just drive slow, at low revs, for about the first mile or so. You can't drive fast anyway at that temp, because without a long warmup, and until you've used the steering and tranny for a while, you can hardly turn the steering wheel or shift the manual tranny. The way I figure it is that a long warmup does not warm up the steering and tranny, only steering and shifting does that. And as soon as you start the engine you immediately get oil, and thus lubrication, circulating throughout the engine, so as long as you take it easy for the first mile or so you're ok.
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