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    Thread: How long do you let your car warm-up during winter before you drive?

    1. 11-28-2012 06:01 PM #1
      I always let my car warm up a bit. I don't really like the way it runs when its cold. From what i've read its bad to rev past 3k while your engine is cold. I've noticed that i have a huge decrease in mileage when i warm up my car during winter. So its either drive on a cold engine and cause wear or let it warm up and have sh*tty gas mileage?

      What are your guys thoughts on this?

    2. 11-28-2012 06:05 PM #2
      2mins generally before I'd move the car and kept it low rpm/out of boost until it was well past warm. Temp gauges don't show you how hot the oil is which is more pertinent for keeping the car happy. To be honest you're probably being a little neurotic about the whole thing though.
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      11-28-2012 06:12 PM #3
      i let mine sit maybe a minute tops. excessive idling is not necessary, car warms up much faster while ur drivin it of course be easy on the throttle until normal operating temps

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      11-28-2012 06:12 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by MK420TH92 View Post
      I always let my car warm up a bit. I don't really like the way it runs when its cold. From what i've read its bad to rev past 3k while your engine is cold. I've noticed that i have a huge decrease in mileage when i warm up my car during winter. So its either drive on a cold engine and cause wear or let it warm up and have sh*tty gas mileage?

      What are your guys thoughts on this?
      If letting it warm up really kills your mileage that bad I'm guessing there is a problem with your car you need to look into. AIT, MAF, o2, intake leak, exhaust leak....something somewhere.
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      11-28-2012 06:32 PM #5
      letting your car warm up at idle before you drive it is horrible for the car.

      thats it, end of story.

      you want it to get to operating temps ASAP, and lettingit idle makes it take WAY longer to get there.

      If you really want it warmer, get an oil heater or block heater that you turn on before you start it.

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      11-28-2012 10:27 PM #6
      I bought my car 3 weeks ago today, and like anybody who has a car they cherrish, I actually read the owners manual cover to cover when I bought it. And it actually says NOT to let the car warm up up at idle, be ready to drive off when you start it. I never understood this point but I will agree (comming from mostly rotary RX-7's in the past) NEVER get into boost or drive hard while cold (the newer RX-8's actually have a redline light on the tach that moves higher as the car warms up) Some will say rotary vs piston motors are apples to oranges but internal combustion is internal combustion no matter how you slice it. Therefor I never rev past 2500 rpms until completely at NOT (normal operating temp), and little to no boost also. Although sometimes you cannot help it, but I try to limit it as much as possable. Besides its warm within 5 min or so anyway.

      BTW - I've followed this procedure w/ my AWP jetta for the last 7 yrs also with no ill effects
      Last edited by max13b2; 11-28-2012 at 10:30 PM.

    7. Member sabbySC's Avatar
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      11-28-2012 10:40 PM #7
      Where do you live? Winter is a relative term, Tom's car in the winter is like mine in the summer.

      I personally park indoors whenever possible, and if not I have an oil pan heater. I don't give a rats ass if its cold outside, as long as my oil isn't cold and can be pumped around the engine and do its job. As mentioned idling a cold car is not good for the engine.

      The reality is, we don't like the cold, but our cars don't really care that much, well at least not within reason. Runing a 0 weight oil in winter is also going to help.
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      11-28-2012 10:46 PM #8
      Depends on the what kind of winter you're talking about - where I live it can be crucial actually. If I'm in a rush and it's cold out I still wait for a few minutes so the engine idles down and then I can drive at about 2000 rpm until the coolant starts to warm up a little.

      Edit: Sabby beat me to the punch. You're right, idling a cold engine isn't that great - running one under load is even worse
      Last edited by All_Euro; 11-28-2012 at 10:52 PM.
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      11-28-2012 10:55 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by speed51133! View Post
      letting your car warm up at idle before you drive it is horrible for the car.

      thats it, end of story.
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      11-29-2012 11:16 AM #10
      I don't really do anything different when it's cold out. I start the car, wait for the RPM to even out and oil to cycle which takes like 15 seconds or so, and go. There is no reason to let it idle and warm up because it takes longer for the engine to get to normal operating temp.

      Edit: Although if it's REALLY cold out I have been known to start the car and let it run while I get ready in the morning so the heat will be warm by the time I'm ready to leave
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      11-29-2012 11:32 AM #11
      I don't, it doesn't have heat anyway since that's the point of most people warming the car up lol. No boost and stay under 2.5k until warm up and deal with it being colder in the car than it is outside for a little bit

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      11-29-2012 12:01 PM #12
      i usually let it sit for a minute or two until the idle drops a little bit. I dont drive it much in the winter to keep things going (maybe once a month depending on if its in driving condition), so I always try to let it smooth itself out and adapt.

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      11-29-2012 01:48 PM #13
      i'm glad i read this. i've been letting mine warm up at idle just for the heat. i only drive a total of 7 minutes to work so i suppose it doesn't make sense to let it warm up anyways. however i then have to get in a cold school bus which takes about 30 minutes to heat up

      i loathe the winter time...
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      11-29-2012 02:47 PM #14
      buy a block heater and plug it in with an automatic timer so it starts heating your engine an hr before you get in....this is great if you have your own garage.

    15. 11-29-2012 02:49 PM #15
      I let mine idle however long it takes me to put on the seat belt, adjust the radio, and put the e-break handle down.

      Then as stated above, low throttle/boost and try to keep it under 3k rpm.
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      11-29-2012 04:02 PM #16
      i've never idled my car at all when I first got it new and no issues so far except the standard wear and tear stuff. I just start and drive. i don't even look at the rpm at all. I noticed that at 30 degree F, it only takes 5-10 minutes to get it to warm up to 190F if you drive rightaway. I drive back roads so it idles only in the stop light.

      Quote Originally Posted by operational.envy View Post
      i'm glad i read this. i've been letting mine warm up at idle just for the heat. i only drive a total of 7 minutes to work so i suppose it doesn't make sense to let it warm up anyways. however i then have to get in a cold school bus which takes about 30 minutes to heat up

      i loathe the winter time...

    17. 11-29-2012 06:38 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by groggory View Post
      If letting it warm up really kills your mileage that bad I'm guessing there is a problem with your car you need to look into. AIT, MAF, o2, intake leak, exhaust leak....something somewhere.
      I'm pretty sure something has to be wrong then. I am noticing a huge difference when i let it idle and warm a bit. To be exact i usually let it sit for 5 minutes on idle before i drive it. Is there a way to find out whats causing this bad gas mileage other than just replacing all these parts???

      I'll also go ahead a test my gas mileage with just letting it warm up for like a minute or so until the RPM's go down to the regular idle.

    18. 11-29-2012 06:38 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by speed51133! View Post
      letting your car warm up at idle before you drive it is horrible for the car.

      thats it, end of story.

      you want it to get to operating temps ASAP, and lettingit idle makes it take WAY longer to get there.

      If you really want it warmer, get an oil heater or block heater that you turn on before you start it.
      Can you explain how its horrible for the car?

    19. Moderator groggory's Avatar
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      11-29-2012 06:46 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by MK420TH92 View Post
      I'm pretty sure something has to be wrong then. I am noticing a huge difference when i let it idle and warm a bit. To be exact i usually let it sit for 5 minutes on idle before i drive it. Is there a way to find out whats causing this bad gas mileage other than just replacing all these parts???

      I'll also go ahead a test my gas mileage with just letting it warm up for like a minute or so until the RPM's go down to the regular idle.
      Don't worry about testing your gas mileage. If it's low it's low.

      Do an exhaust leak test and intake pressure test per the FAQ. Fix all leaks.

      Change your spark plugs as appropriate.

      Clean your AIT and MAF with MAF cleaner spray.

      Change your air filter.

      Check tire pressure.

      Ensure proper wheel alignment.

      ...all good starter tips to maximizing fuel economy.
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    20. 11-29-2012 06:48 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by MK420TH92 View Post
      Can you explain how its horrible for the car?
      A cold engine emits a far higher percentage of unburned hydrocarbons than a warm engine. Unfortunately, the average catalytic converter can’t process 100 percent of unburned hydrocarbons even in the best of times. Importantly, the catalytic converter needs high exhaust temperatures to work properly. Throw in a cold engine emitting a high percentage of unburned hydrocarbons, repeat several hundred times, and you can end up with what’s called a “plugged” converter. In a nutshell, the converter becomes overwhelmed and literally ceases to function. This won’t happen all at once but over time, the end effect is the same: poor mileage and significantly dirtier exhaust.

      Car warms up faster when driving as pointed out by others...
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    21. 11-29-2012 07:18 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Twopnt016v View Post
      A cold engine emits a far higher percentage of unburned hydrocarbons than a warm engine. Unfortunately, the average catalytic converter can’t process 100 percent of unburned hydrocarbons even in the best of times. Importantly, the catalytic converter needs high exhaust temperatures to work properly. Throw in a cold engine emitting a high percentage of unburned hydrocarbons, repeat several hundred times, and you can end up with what’s called a “plugged” converter. In a nutshell, the converter becomes overwhelmed and literally ceases to function. This won’t happen all at once but over time, the end effect is the same: poor mileage and significantly dirtier exhaust.

      Car warms up faster when driving as pointed out by others...

      ahhh ok i see. Thanks.

    22. 11-29-2012 07:20 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by groggory View Post
      Don't worry about testing your gas mileage. If it's low it's low.

      Do an exhaust leak test and intake pressure test per the FAQ. Fix all leaks.

      Change your spark plugs as appropriate.

      Clean your AIT and MAF with MAF cleaner spray.

      Change your air filter.

      Check tire pressure.

      Ensure proper wheel alignment.

      ...all good starter tips to maximizing fuel economy.

      Ugh... i swear im going to have to build a *****n garage in my parking lot to keep up with this car. I love it to death, but its ALWAYS something with it that needs a repair or a check.

      Btw what is AIT? Never saw that abbreviation before.

    23. 11-29-2012 07:32 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by MK420TH92 View Post
      Ugh... i swear im going to have to build a *****n garage in my parking lot to keep up with this car. I love it to death, but its ALWAYS something with it that needs a repair or a check.

      Btw what is AIT? Never saw that abbreviation before.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Marcus_Aurelius View Post
      If you're going to come like this, why don't you come correct? I think you mean Samuel Langhorne Clemens. What's next, you want the work cited to be mentioned as well, on a car forum sig in quotation? How about you fail me professor

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      11-30-2012 01:23 AM #24
      I move off as soon as I'm ready to. But very gingerly until everything warms up nice. That can suck if you live right next to a freeway. Better get yourself some 0w-something oil in that case
      Another think to consider if you like to leave it to warm up by idling is how much excess fuel gets past the rings into your oil. Not good! As pointed out, not good for cat and O2 sensor life either.
      Get a load on the thing and put it to work.
      Last edited by aphsht; 11-30-2012 at 01:26 AM.

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      11-30-2012 07:26 AM #25
      I start it, back out of the garage and drive away. I accelerate lightly and keep out of boost until the temperature gauge has moved off its stop. If I lived in Yellowknife NWT and it was -35oC outside I might give it a minute for the oils (engine, trans) to warm a bit for better flow but it'd have to be pretty cold for that.

      On the whole, modern fuel injected cars need no special warm-up time. These aren't like the old carb'd cars of the past where you'd stab the throttle once or twice to set the choke and shoot some fuel in, crank and hoped it caught (and didn't flood...), then give it a few minutes on fast idle before stabbing the gas again to get the linkage off the fast-idle cam, hoping that the thermostatically-controlled choke was opening enough to prevent stalling but not so slow as to wash down the cylinder walls with gas and spew soot out of the tailpipes. The 70s were a fun time to drive cars in the winter...

      Nowadays, fuel delivery is very accurate even in very cold air. and cars run "right" cold or hot. If yours isn't running well when cold get it checked. MAF, plugs, filters, front O2 sensor etc; get VAGCOM on it and check for codes, IAT and CTS performance. Run some injector cleaner through the tank.

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      12-01-2012 07:46 PM #26
      The gas mileage talk in here is bunk. Of course he is getting lower mileage. When you're not driving your car, you are getting 0 mpg. I lived in NC and MD, we get cold winters. I warmed my car up for an average of 5 minutes everytime (until I saw stable appropriate oil pressure and oil temp) from a cold start if the temps were 40 or below. So, a normal tank of gas in the summer was netting me 350-370 combined total miles, but in the winter when I was letting it warm up (burning gas without moving...) my MPG dropped to right around 300 on a combined tank. I don't understand why anyone would think there is an actual problem with the car because of this. It's simple math.

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      12-01-2012 08:05 PM #27
      Not long at all. I give it maybe 30 seconds to get oil pressure up a bit, then I roll off.

      I drive it easy, don't go beyond 3000 rpm, stay out of boost.

      I also have the entire radiator blocked by cardboard. Or else I don't even get up to 90.C within my 30 minute workday commute. Yay, cold-ass Canada
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