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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Who warms up before driving off in cool weather?

Environmentalists say "never" warm up because it pollutes and wastes gas. Columnists "Click and Clack" say a warm up is not necessary for the same reasons given above, and to just drive easy for a few miles in really cold temps. The owners manual from my Ford sedan says warm ups are not necessary. My Harley manual says don't rev for at least the first 15 seconds and then ride slowly for a few miles.

Most people in my neighborhood hit the gas pedal hard as soon as the engine fires. "Drive slowly for a few miles"????,...heck, if I did that I'd have a train of tailgaters a foot off my bumper honking and giving me sign language.

Personally I can't get over the notion that it is best to warm up for a couple of minutes or so in my driveway, depending of course on temperature. Myself and only a very few other people I know seem to feel this way. Who is right? Think I"m in the 1 percent minority on this practice. By the way, I use the factory specified 5w20 viscosity, and only full synthetic.
 

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I used to let both my Jeep and my truck idle for a few in winter but I've since stopped doing it and no, not to satisfy the "both ends of the ozone burning" folks lol. From what I've read, more people have a concern with the risk of their vehicle being stolen than they're concerned about the environment and I'd have to say I fall in the former category so I just suck it up for the few minutes of driving it takes to get to operating temp and then kick on the heat. Gonna suck a little next couple mornings being below freezing but I have a jacket for that lol.

- Cajun
 

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Your harley is most likely carbureted (unless it is a very late model) and carbureted vehicles usually need to "warm up" for a few minutes with the choke on until it can hold an idle. This was the main purpose behind "warm ups" in vehicles that weren't fuel injected.

It is not really necessary or much beneficial to warm up a fuel injected vehicle. There will be no operating problems like stalling or stuttering due to the computer fuel management, and it is true that it wastes fuel if you let it warm up. It is, however, a good idea to let the vehicle idle down, or "warm up" for a very short period of time. Every time you start the vehicle the engine will rev higher than idle for some period of time. If it's a cold start it will usually be about 1 minute, if it's not a cold start it may only be a few seconds. IMO it is best to wait for the engine to "idle down" to it's normal idle rpm before putting it in gear. This will make sure oil has reached all parts of the engine (like lifters pumping up), the computer has had a few seconds to adjust for everything, etc. The only time I don't do this is on cold start mornings, as I'd have to wait a while to let it idle down, so I usually will wait about 10 seconds then go off, but I do drive easy the first few minutes.

Really the only thing you need to avoid and should never do is what I see people do sometimes: Start the car, and instantly push the brake, throw it in gear, and romp on the gas pedal. All this within about 2 seconds. You should really give a few seconds after starting the engine, then drive easy for a short period of time.

I hope this helps at all.
 

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Well by the time I go to work tonight it's going to be less than 10 degrees outside and windchill values well below zero. I'll let it warm up, say about 5 - 8 minutes. In that time it will be blowing some warm air and the temp needle will be about ready to start moving. You can hear it in older cars how they will sound like they are running awful in cold weather start ups and then once they warm up they sound good again.
Environmentalists need to be more worried about pollutants from erupting volcanoes than from my pickup truck that idles for about 5 minutes on a cold winter day
Oh I also definitely let it idle down every time, even if it's warm outside.
 

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I think it depends on what the temperature is outside. In the winter I've always let my trucks run a little bit to warm up the oil before making it try to protect the motor. You can't deny how different a cold motor sounds versus one warmed up a bit .

I'm all for protecting mother earth, but like the post above....they need to worry about bigger things destroying the environment. Air quality is gonna be the least of our concerns once the oil companies destroy your drinking water by fracking the sh*t out of this country. Wait until there is a water shortage....anarchy baby. :gun:
 

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I agree with Sean on letting the engine complete its fast idle segment. On my Ram it only lasts about 15-40 seconds depending on outside temps. I thought one of the reasons for not allowing longer warmup periods was to reduce contaminant buildup in the oil...water/condensation, combustion byproducts, etc. It sounds odd for combustion byproducts to go by the rings in a newer engine, but the sealing quality at the rings on any engine is not up to full capacity on a really cold engine. The quicker an engine gets up to full operating range, the less buildup in the crankcase, and the quicker any accumlated deposits burn off or dry out. At least a lot of good sources stand by this approach.
 

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^That's a very good point. Also true for carbon buildup in the combustion chamber.
 

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I let it warm up for about 10 minutes, maybe more if its really bitter. I dont like freezing inside my truck when Im driving. My sled is fuel injected and I always let that thing warm up to 90F (has a digital gauge) before riding it
 

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I always do if it's real cold, let the oil get to where it has to instead of taking off "dry".
 

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HeyBrownDog

Without the oil companies you would not be driving ANYTHING!

Jim in Pa
 

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In the winter, I always let my vehicles run for a minute or two before driving off. Living in Canada where the temperatures in my area can easily hit -40 or colder with the wind chill, I feel this is important to allow the oil to properly circulate in the engine. I also always put the tranny in Drive and let it sit in Drive for a few seconds before backing up. Not sure if this is still required on newer vehicles but a Tranny Shop Owner once told me years ago that this really helps the life of an Auto Tranny as the Tranny Oil Pump does not work in reverse so an immediate back-up would not circulate oil properly.
 

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Not sure if this is still required on newer vehicles but a Tranny Shop Owner once told me years ago that this really helps the life of an Auto Tranny as the Tranny Oil Pump does not work in reverse so an immediate back-up would not circulate oil properly.
Just an FYI this is incorrect. If the engine is running (and everything is working properly), then the engine turns the flywheel which turns the torque converter which turns the trans oil pump, so it doesn't matter what gear you're in, it is pumping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to all !

Like some of you, I do put it in gear upon startup and just hold the brake while waiting, both to flow transmission fluid as well as bring down initial rpms. But if covered with ice/snow, I chicken out and wait in the house for a few minutes.

Sean, the Harley is injected, and rpms do drop very quickly. While I never ride below 60 degrees, that diet of 20w50 is a thick pour and I like to feel a warm crankcase platecover. My ancient vette though,...just like you said.

Condensation, contaminants and other byproducts: Short trips in cold weather are a fact of life for probably many of us. Possible diluted
oil?....yes, but I recently read that only about 30 minutes of continuous driving once per month generates sufficient heat to drive off any buildup of contaminants.

Dancianne
 

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I always hit the remote start as I'm walking toward my truck so it is idled down by time I get in and buckle up. In the winter, I warm it up for a short while to ensure the oil is flowing easily in both the engine and trans, then drive moderately for the first few minutes. Unless I'm being a suck about the cold, or the windows are frosted badly on the inside, I never let it warm up for more than about 2 minutes in -30deg temps. :)
 

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i usually hit the remot start before i go out in winter but im off and driving before the first 15 min run time is up
 

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winter time i let the remote start go for about 5mins, then get in it and go, my harley i coast down the drive way, fire it up, granted its fuel injected but with 583 lift cams, head work and high compression its still real stumbly till fully warmed up, but i idle up the road to the stop sign where the main road is and sit for an extra few minutes. my end of the street i got all the old crotchy people live around me. the durango use to piss them off. custom 3 inch exhaust and single chamber flowmaster.
 

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i usually warm it up a few minutes in the winter to help take the "cold" out of the cab area, i like it warm when i get in and drive. with symthetic oil in it shouldnt the oil be circulating almost immediately? so for me its just to get into a warm cab
 

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My 98 GMC with 225,000 miles on it needs to warm up in cold weather for about 5 min to get rid of a knock, then its fine (lifter ticking?). In warmer weather (above 3 degrees Celsius) I just warm it up for about 1-2 minute before I drive off, keeping the revs low for the first 5 minutes or so.
 

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^yeah most likely a lifter. Once my s10 hit 200,000 miles it developed a lifter tick on cold mornings, it would go away after a minute.
 
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