Warming your car up?

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Sep 30, 2013
It's about that time of year for another one of these threads. -5*F this morning. Would you let your car warm up or just get in and drive easy?

For conversation sake, let's assume this is a gas vehicle with no block or pan heaters and also kept outside. I'd really like to hear from our northern BITOG members who obviously see much colder temps.

I'll start by saying that I am normally in the do not warm up camp, but when it gets this cold, I like to let it run for 10 minutes or so before taking off.
Always let mine warm up for my comfort. Don't give a [censored] about the car. Ambient temperature right now, -10F.

The wife and I went out to breakfast yesterday (-5F). Car idled for about 45 minutes before we left. I also let it run while we ate. Toast in my belly and toasty warm in the car.
Originally Posted By: GeorgeKaplan
Always let mine warm up for my comfort. Don't give a [censored] about the car. Ambient temperature right now, -10F.

You're being kind Sir!

Because I too don't give a "BLANKETY BLANK, BLANK, BLANK" about the mpg efficiency or engine longevity either when it's this cold outside. We want to get into a warm vehicle and not shiver in our boots while the interior is warming up as we're driving to our destination. Too old for that "BLANK"!
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I’ve been using the remote start every morning since the weather drop around here .i let it run for like 10mins I want the car nice and warm when I get in . The heck with wasting gas comfort first
Ever since my VW manual stated never to idle a cold engine, I do not warm up cars. Just get in and go. Take it easy until it builds some heat.

I have actually started the mr2 and let it idle in the summer for a couple mins to get the ac going before I got in on a couple 100+ degree Denver days after work when the car had been baking all day.
I spent a winter semester at Aberdeen University sleeping in my car. It used to get badly iced, inside and out, at ambients down to about -20C, but odly it always started ok, even though I'd had to disable the faulty automatic choke.

I have to assume body heat had something to do with it, so yes, in those conditions I warm up my car.
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I never let my car warm up. I park in my garage at home. It was 7 degrees F when I left for work this morning. I turned on my heated seat which takes 45 seconds to get warmed up.
I pretty much have to warm up the S10 to get the oil flowing in the top end or else it rattles like no other for the first couple miles. The Jeep, just a couple minutes to start to get it warm and clear the windows. The Camry and GTI stay in the garage, so start and go for those.
I usually run out and start mine in the morning, then run in take my vitamins, grab an apple and my stuff and leave, maybe 3-5 mins most. With the TDI, it wont matter too much, I just want to get oil flowing, I dont get consistent heat for about 3 miles on the highway, about 10 mins into my drive. On the X, hit the seat heat and wheel, and its already out of the blue after my short warm up, and almost to operating temp within 1 mile. Gotta love the electronically controlled thermostats!
Originally Posted By: Finz
I like to get the juices flowing before I hit the road... anywhere from 1-5 minutes

Same here, that's what we do. Not only that, but there is a lifter tick when the engine is ice cold and sounds louder under load until just about fully warmed. Noise does goes away so that's good.

Today, under gentle driving and three minutes idling, we felt some heat in 8 minutes time and had full warmed heat inside of 15 minutes.

Presently running a good amount of cleaner additive in the oil to help get that tick straightened out, have to let that work over time.
Originally Posted By: SilverFusion2010
I crank, let idle for 15-30 seconds, and drive. Unless the windshield is iced up. Engine warms up in a couple miles and then I turn on the heat

+1. Same here. I start, it let it run for 20-30 sec and drive. +2 this morning.
I get in, start the vehicle up, put wallet and phones in the cubby, seatbelt on and off I go. Probably takes at the most 1 minute. I do this whether the vehicle is parked in my somewhat heated garage (heating oil furnace is in the garage) or outside.

I don't overly baby the vehicle as it warms up while driving. I just drive it normally.

I will probably reconsider how I warm up my vehicles if I live in a place much colder than where I currently live.
I live in Minneapolis and it is -10 F right now at 7:00AM. I park outside with my 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT even though I have a 5 car garage in my backyard and my wife gets the 1 car garage on the side. My daughter parks her Honda Civic outside too. I run 4 qts 0W-40 Mobil 1 and 1qt of 0w-30 Redline in my wife's Rav4 to get some more moly in for first startup lack chain tensioner pressure noise. Plus she doesn't drive easy at first when she leaves in a cold car. I can't seem to get it through her head.

I have a car starter in my Hyundai and I can have cocktails of Mobil 1 Amsoil SS and XL alone with Redline. Years ago I would just use Walmart group 3 full synthetic. I shot for a 5 to 10 minute warm up. 5 minutes if it is 5 deg F to 25 F and 10 mins if 0 to -30 deg F.

My daughters Civic is outside and now she has Mobil 1 high mileage, but needs really to use Pennzoil full synthetic high mileage that has more seal swelling agent in it then Mobil 1 high mileage. She warms it up a bit but like her mom is a lead foot way too early in the cold engine warming cycle.

I need to watch it with my Hyundai since it had a NEW long block put in at 14,000 miles I now have 18,500 because of the "Hyundai Tick of Death" This is another issue Hyundai motors suffer from not withstanding all the other issues that company has with engine design/manufacturing/metallurgy choice. My motor has had synthetic in it since 3,000 miles and it wore out the coating on the piston skirts and then wore the skirts and had a piston/knock or REALLY tick when cold. Some have it while warm, mine never got that far. I still think it was lifters, it sounded just like bad lifters. I think it was coming from there too. But hey, they see the cars every day and I don't.

I just don't understand why they just don't license pistons from Mahle in Germany and call it a day. THeir cars are very niceand you get gret bang for the buck, nicer then my Honda in many respects. Just make the pistons top tier and over engineer the engines and solve your motor problems.

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Our winter temperatures can get as low as -40C (-40F) here at times, so cold starts can be about as abusive as anywhere on the planet.

In the winter, I make sure the cars are plugged in for a least two hours before departure. When I get in and fire the car, I give it a minute or so for the RPM to stabilize. Once that happens, I drive off very gently and continue my easy warmup until I see full temperature on the gauge.

Even with full temperature on the gauge (coolant), it doesn't mean that the engine oil is fully warmed up, nor does it mean the transmission/transaxle fluid is warmed up.

I don't really ever run our cars particularly hard anyway (even when fully warmed up), but I think the cold start procedure is the most critical in preserving the life of the car. Common sense should prevail here.
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