Warming up your car

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I was wondering, is warming up your car (about 2-3 minutes) another one of those old myths or is it necessary in keeping your engine in good shape?

posted by  speedy23

Well, you want to get the oil flowing through the engine good before putting it under load, otherwise you can ruin bearings. If the combustion chamber is too cold, you can get uneven burning and hotspots, as well, though that's not as much of an issue as oiling.

As far as getting warm, the engine will warm up faster being driven than jsut sitting there idling, in most cses, so letting it sit there and warm up for 4-5 minutes is a waste.

But in general, let it run for a couple moments before revving it in neutral, and at least a minute or two before puting it under load. This gives enough time for oil to pump through th eengine and get it lubed properly before putting stress on it.

posted by  ChrisV

Cool, I've also read lots of different information about this.

So how about just driving the car (automatic shift, in my case) slowly for the first miles or so, ie couple minutes, before finally increasing it to 40 or 50 mph for the next few minutes, would that qualify as warming it up under little to no load? Also, around what temperature would we need to worry about this, some places don't get that cold in the winter, would we all still need to warm up the car first?

posted by  JaneiR36

Driving it slowly is definitely under load. The engine is trying to move the whole car, and doing it slowly can be more of a load than quickly.

I let the car warm up for a minute or so regardless. The difference between 20 degrees and 50 degrees outside temp isn't as important to the oil as the difference between oil all in your pan and oil moving through the whole engine (it's pushed to the top, then drips back down over the cam surfaces and the like). Getting the oil up to temp and moving is the important part so you don't score up the cylinder walls or the bearings.

posted by  ChrisV

There is alot to be said for changing your oil to suite your conditions ie lower viscosity for colder climates etc.

The capacity of coolant is important, each litre of water takes 4.18KJ of energy to heat it 1 degree C. (sorry for all of those who work in imperial)

posted by  cinqyg

Well, the unit is not quite so important; I can't exactly quantify 4.18 KJ of energy, anyway :mrgreen: That's an interesting thing you mention about the oil, though. Since it's supposedly specified to protect your engine through a certain temparature range, is the warm up really necessary?

But hey, you were always one of my favorite posters, nice to "see" you around these parts again, cinqyg! :thumbs:

ChrisV, is the same necessary even in warm (>70F, for example) weather? I certainly could let the car warm up for just one minute, either way.

posted by  JaneiR36

Again, it isn't as much the temp that's the issue, but the fact that the oil is in the oil pan, not up lubricating parts. You want to make sure it has enough time to get everywhere before putting the car under load. Sure, in warmer temps, it won't take as long, but oil operating temps are upwards of 200 degrees F. Not 30, not 50, not even 70.

Interestingly enough, due to having fairly warm temps here late into the season, I was still running the Castrol GTX 20w-50 in the Fiat, as that's the oil the older DOHC engines really like to have. Well, last Monday it dropped to 9 degrees F in the morning, and it wouldn't hardly turn over (and wouldn't start) due to the oil being basically molassess... I ended up swapping to the Castrol GTX 5w-30 for cold weather use. It's not really supposed to be driven in the winter, but I had been using it as a daily driver.

posted by  ChrisV

Cool. I'll do the waiting thing from now on. I do use 10W-30 and our winters are quite mild.

posted by  JaneiR36

It depends on how cold it is. On the radio show cartalk they said that 30 seconds should do it for mild weather but for snow, it should probably be at least 1 minute.

posted by  99integra

wow i been wasting my time all along. i usually wait till the gauge reach 1/4th, if im not in a rush i wait till its warmed up, thats when the gauge reaches the mid 1/2 point which usually takes 5-7 minutes.

Ok my question is, (I drive a 2002 mitsu lancer es automatic) usually when I am in a rush and just drive off with out warming it up, why does it seem like everytime the car attempts to change its first gear it seems to stall a bit and once it does switch gears it sorta gives you 1 big jerk? Chrisv can you explain that? this also happens to my cousins 2004 ford focus & my aunts 03 montero, both automatic.

posted by  Ki2AY

The jerk also happens in my 1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE 3100SFI V6 auto. Also, I use Mobil 1 5W-30 synthetic. Does this make it any easier for my car to get the oil up to lubricate the engine itself? I never really understood this part of upkeep so, please enlighten me a bit. :thumbs:

posted by  Satty101

can anyone explain this?

(dodge? chirs? hobo? dsm?)

posted by  Ki2AY

I'm not too good on oil viscosity, but I believe 5W-30 is a reasonably thin oil, this obviously means that the oil gets 'round the engine easier from cold than a thicker oil would (a thicker oil would need to heat up a great deal to thin it out). It all depends on what specific manufacturers recommend as in some cases using too thinner oil can cause engine damage. :thumbs:

As for your question, If the car is cold it's quite normal for it to be a tad jerky to start off with, as ChrisV stated earlier, if there's no oil moving around the engine and you suddenly floor it you're putting an unnessesary strain on the engine. So, just by letting your car warm up afor a little while, you're saving alot of time in the long run. Dont get me wrong, there's no need to let the temperature guage climb to the half way mark, just let her warm up for a couple of minutes. Hope this helps guys! :thumbs:

posted by  Cliffy


posted by  Ki2AY

Thank you... :thumbs:

posted by  Satty101

good explainations

posted by  Alpha Lobo

No probs guys, see, I do have a use, lol :ohcrap:

posted by  Cliffy

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