Wintertime oil habits

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903
Location
CA
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: Also, another thing that bothers me is that people feel the need to start and idle their engines during winter storage. All this does is add more fuel to the oil (same thing with the extra idling to warm up the engine) [crushedcar]
I don't see a problem with this as long as you run the engine until the coolant fan comes on. On carburated engines I think this is benefical. It keeps the carb passages and jets clean by running fuel through them. It also refills the float bowls since fuel evaporates from them.
 
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2,230
Location
SE MI
Yeah I don't see a prob with the last part especially on carb'd engines. I do this all the time on my 81 T-bird. The vacuum escapes and the headlight covers pop up. I Just feel the need to recharge the battery and vacuum - just to make sure everything's still holding together.
 
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922
Location
Ontario , Canada
I do run my car during winter storage, I don't like to keep the valvesprings compressed in the same position for long periods of time, plus I like to take it around the block on those sunny dry winter days, cures the boredom. [Wink]
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,988
Location
Oakville, Ontario
As winter approaches, I see a lot of opinions on various boards I go to, most of which make me shake my head in disbelief! It's amazing how many people don't have a clue. Here is a perfect example, on the subject of warming your engine up before pulling away (and this guy does this practice in the summer too he has told me before!)
quote:
I let it get to 160 before driving it. Here's why: oil, no matter what type you use, gets thicker as it gets colder, and thinner as it gets hotter. When you first start up the car, the oil is very thick and the oil pump must work that much harder to circulate, and when the oil is thicker, it has a harder time reaching all the bearing surfaces. So I let the oil thin out some so that when you start driving it and putting a load on the motor, the oil pump isnt being worked overly hard, and also so that the oil can more easily flow to all the bearing surfaces.
What a load of BS! Also, another thing that bothers me is that people feel the need to start and idle their engines during winter storage. All this does is add more fuel to the oil (same thing with the extra idling to warm up the engine) And for those that don't start their engines during winter storage, it also amazes me that they feel the need to change out their oil in the springtime. Why? It's still new oil! [I dont know] I try to help these guys out, but unfortunately there just isn't helping some people. They do what they wanna do, even if I provide them with the knowledge that what they are doing will eventually turn their car into a heap of rubble. [crushedcar]
 

driven2services

Administrator
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0
Well, what that guy said is true, but not the most important consideration. There ARE folks who can't see the forest for the trees...also known as those who major in minors...can't see the big picture...whatever. Ken
 

satterfi

Thread starter
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903
Location
CA
I think the fuel dilution argument is a left over from manual chokes. Remember when you had a choke knob you had to pull on, or had to tap the throttle to disengage the ‘automatic’ choke? Modern fuel injected cars should not run rich enough during start-up that fuel dilution is even detectable.
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,988
Location
Oakville, Ontario
But even on a modern engine, the ring seal is not as good when the engine is cold, so you are going to get the highest amount of fuel in the oil during this time. So if you idle to warm up your engine, you'll spend more time with the piston sealing not perfect like this, therefore more fuel gets into the oil.
 
This has been said many times, but once again: Letting your gasoline-powered car idle when cold, especially in the winter, is the worst thing you can do for it as lubrication is poor and water & fuel contaminate the oil. You're better off not starting your car at all in the winter than just letting it sit at an idle. If you start it, then drive it!
 

satterfi

Thread starter
Messages
903
Location
CA
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: But even on a modern engine, the ring seal is not as good when the engine is cold, so you are going to get the highest amount of fuel in the oil during this time. So if you idle to warm up your engine, you'll spend more time with the piston sealing not perfect like this, therefore more fuel gets into the oil.
Agreed, but I thought we were talking about running the engine 3 or 4 times during the winter and letting it come up to full operating temperature each time. If you are just going to start it and back it out of the drive way then I'd say you are right.
 
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3,633
Location
St. Charles County, Missouri
On a daily driver and not a storage car, I thought the purpose was to get the car moving s-l-o-w-l-y as soon as possible and that warming an engine wasted fuel and put stress on the rest of the vehicle--warm engine cold transmission and wheel bearings--not good.
 
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3,023
Location
USA-Michigan
Its foolish to start the car and then not drive it. You do not accomplish a thing, as the engine idles, condensation forms in the exhaust system and engine. I have never done that, once its parked it stays parked. A for the winter warm up, thats not a good idea either. Runit long enough to allow oil pressure to stabalize and drive it. Idling is the worst thing you can do to an engine, I have an elderly relative that does this a lot, she only goes up 2 miles with the Lumuna and been driving like this for a couple years. Right now, nothing but trouble with the car, its so carboned up from all the idling and short driving. The Chevy dealer has worker on it 2x this year for the same problem, they have told, Don't idle the car so much and drive more. So now every week I have to take here car for 50 mile run just to keep it out of the shop. And BTW, had to put new battery in car already, just over 2 yrs old. Idleing is good, NO WAY.
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,988
Location
Oakville, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by satterfi:
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: But even on a modern engine, the ring seal is not as good when the engine is cold, so you are going to get the highest amount of fuel in the oil during this time. So if you idle to warm up your engine, you'll spend more time with the piston sealing not perfect like this, therefore more fuel gets into the oil.
Agreed, but I thought we were talking about running the engine 3 or 4 times during the winter and letting it come up to full operating temperature each time. If you are just going to start it and back it out of the drive way then I'd say you are right.

Actually, the original quote I posted, was about someone who does this every time he drives his car, even in the summer too. So that's a lot of idling time!
 

TAL

Messages
18
Location
Mokena, IL
Yep...get in and drive! I start the car, make sure oil pressure is up and then pull out. I don't romp on it just yet. Just drive normally until car is warmed up.
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,988
Location
Oakville, Ontario
I drive my car like a little old lady until it warms up, summer or winter. I just let off the brake and let my car idle along in drive as I pull out of my townhouse complex, giving it no gas at all, so it runs along at 1000rpm for the first minute or so. Then when I pull onto the main road, I keep the rpms below 2000rpm, and only give it about 25% throttle until I see the coolant gauge hit about 160-170F.
 
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93
Location
Near Chicago, Illinois
Back in '89 when I got my T/A, I read 2 books by Bob Sikorski (I think that's his name), one of them was titled Drive it Forever, the other was Break it in Right. The books are full of tips to extend engine life. In them he suggests idling only long enough for the idle to stabilize. He might mention also that in cold weather it could take up to 30 seconds for the oil to get pumped to all parts of the engine. He suggests driving easy and not going above 40 mph for the first 2 miles. Although my car is nearly 14 yrs old now I still keep to the habits I developed when the car was new. On a cold start, I idle only about 30 seconds. I drive on side streets for a few blocks where I can before going out on the faster roads to give things a chance to get circulated and let the temperatures begin to rise gradually. The only "bad" thing I've noticed, is when I go to a certain store, the most direct route is almost all side street speeds for the 4 or 5 miles, and the engine temp stays low for a long time unless I get on a main road and get up to 40-45 mph to generate more heat. I notice this even in the summer. In this case, I believe this much slow speed driving is not good for the whole trip and so now I take a longer route to get up some speed and get the engine to full operating temp. BTW, I also don't understand why some people feel the need to change brand new, never used oil that they put in a car to be stored over the winter. I asked someone about this once but didn't get an answer. I guess he didn't know why he did it either.
 
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2,095
Location
IL
JSIR, If you drive it that is good. But I think Patman was concerned about just idling. Which will just cause fuel dilution and condensation to build. I agree w/him. Either drive it, or leave it be.
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,988
Location
Oakville, Ontario
Another problem with idling the engine from a cold start like that is that it really does not heat up your oil very fast at all. We all know that the oil temperature lags behind the coolant temp from a cold start, and especially if the engine isn't under load, that oil will not heat up very much at all. In 5min of driving that oil will be much hotter than in 15min of idling from a cold start. So those of you that do this are just wasting fuel and aren't prolonging your engine's life one bit.
 
Messages
951
Location
Loveland, Colorado
quote:
Originally posted by JSIR: I do run my car during winter storage, I don't like to keep the valvesprings compressed in the same position for long periods of time, plus I like to take it around the block on those sunny dry winter days, cures the boredom. [Wink]
JSIR, FWIW, you shouldn't have to worry about your valve springs taking a set. The only way that would happen is if the yield strength of the steel were exceeded, & the springs will never see those kinds of forces. Just thought you'd like one less thing to worry about. [Big Grin] If you need something new to worry about (y'know, to take it's place [Wink] ), consider that "exercising" the springs is cold-working them, which makes the material harder (noticeable in things like an old, stiff clutch pressure plate compared to a new, supple pressure plate) but also makes the material more brittle & CAN lead to failure. Not that it will. But, y'know, if you wanted something to worry about...
 
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