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Does a cold engine need to idle before driving?

manyqxmanyqx Posts: 9
edited April 2014 in Ford
I noticed that our 2007 FS SEL AWD - unlike our Windstar- seems to not do so well(being very loud and not accelerating unless I push the gas pedal hard-which I don't want to do) with temperatures below 20Fahrenheit if I don't let the engine run idle for 5-10 minutes before driving.
Is this due to the different transmission/engine or is it just my car?
Originating from more environmentally-conscious Europe I don't like to let the engine run idle but will of course do it if that's what is necessary to prolong the life of my car and not having to drive the first 5 blocks at 12mph :-)
Thanks for your input! Manyqx


  • There is something wrong with your Freestyle. Mine does fine in cold weather after just seconds of idling. Hard to guess what it might be, it could be something not right in the CV joints or transmission, in my opinion.
  • tim156tim156 Posts: 308
    My 07 SEL also does fine. It was 14 below zero this morning when I left for work at 10:30. I don't plug it if it's parked overnight in the garage. I let it warm up three to four minutes and I also put the transmission in neutral to try to warm the tranny fluid a little. I read somewhere, sometime that it's not good to idle your engine for more than 10 minutes.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I agree with coldcranker and tim156. Also, you will warm up your engine much more quickly if you just drive off (slowly!) after a brief idle period.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I do remember years ago when in -19 deg F weather, my Dodge Intrepid's steering was a bit stiff due to thicker steering fluid. Other than that, I've never known a car to act too weird when very cold.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I've been out in 30 below (Idaho) and, while the car feels pretty stiff, it does just fine. And it does take a while to warm up inside. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • When its very cold, I know the tire rubber is very stiff, and MPG can suffer. Of course, MPG also suffers until the engine oil has warmed up to operating temperature, too.
  • tim156tim156 Posts: 308
    With the extreme cold we've been experiencing here in Minneapolis my MPG has dropped to around 15.5 mpg. Normally I get around 17.5 mpg in the winter and 20 mpg in the summer for my routine drive to work and running errands. Between the stiff rubber and shocks the ride is pretty rough when it's -22 degrees.
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